'Australia just couldn't get him out, he's Rahul Dravid all over again': Michael Clarke praises Cheteshwar Pujara
“Pujji, you will be known as the ultimate warrior,” said India head coach Ravi Shastri to laud Cheteshwar Pujara who played a brave knock of 56 off 211 balls during India’s record chase in Brisbane that won them the Test match and the series.
Brave, because he took around 10 blows while batting against the Australian quicks at The Gabba on the final day of the final Test. In the previous game at Sydney Cricket Ground, Pujara was rock-solid with his 205-ball 77 in the fourth innings to keep India afloat in the series with a draw.
A section of fans may have trolled him for his slow scoring rate but the resilience he showed in the final two matches is unparalleled. Taking blows on the body to save a game is the proof of his sheer brilliance which helped India win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy for the 2nd time in a row on the Aussie soil.
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Former Australian captain Michael Clarke is one of the experts who is in the awe of India No 3. In a conversation with Sports Today, he said that the host bowlers couldn't get the better of him because Pujara didn’t change his natural game.
Clarke also compared Pujara with former India captain Rahul Dravid, who was known for his patience and water-tight technique against the best of fast bowlers.
“Well, he is Rahul Dravid all over again. Isn’t he? Well, I was lucky enough to play against the Great Wall. Very similar parts to Pujara’s game. He is very tough; he doesn’t give it away. He has copped criticism; people were saying Cummins had his measure but they just couldn’t get him out. He copped everything but he didn’t change his natural game. That’s why he deserves so much credit,” Pujara told Sports Today.
Pujara ended this Test series Down Under with 271 runs from 8 innings at an average of 33.87 with three half-centuries. Also, he played a total of 928 balls, most by any batsman in the series.
Praising his patient knock in the series, Clarke said that Pujara played a huge role in India’s success in the Australian conditions.
“Again, that’s why he bats an important position. You know players don’t take him for granted. They love him being in the group. They know how important he is. In a cricketing world where everyone wants fours and sixes, there is still a role for a player like Pujara. He played a huge role in not only India winning the Gabba Test but once again India having success in these conditions,” Clarke said.