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Pujara slams third triple ton in a month, this time against Orissa

Cheteshwar Pujara is an unusual 20-year-old. He spends about an hour in the company of various gods in his puja room when at home, and when on a cricket field, his meditation lasts for several days.

Cheteshwar Pujara is an unusual 20-year-old. He spends about an hour in the company of various gods in his puja room when at home, and when on a cricket field, his meditation lasts for several days. He’s quiet and unassuming, and doesn’t quite fall into the stereotypical image of Oakley-clad, ear-pierced, tattooed cocky GenNext cricketers made-to-order for the game’s shortest version.

He has been known to score big; he sticks to playing the ball on the ground and rarely ventures outside the coaching manual. And now, he has ensured he’ll be remembered for an incredible feat — scoring three triple hundreds in a month. After notching up 386 and 322 in the under-22 tournament, the Saurashtra batsman scored an unbeaten 302 in the Ranji Trophy match against Orissa at Rajkot. “There was this feeling that the first two had come at u-22 level and things were easy for me. But this is the Ranji Trophy elite division. This is first-class cricket. And besides, this one was vital for the team too,” he says without raising his voice.

World record

This triple century also got him a world record for the fifth-wicket partnership in any form of the game as he, along with his 2006 under-19 World Cup team mate Ravinder Jadeja, compiled an unbeaten partnership of 520, scratching Mark and Steve Waugh’s names off the books. Jadeja’s contribution was a worthy 232 not out. For many players these days, the step-up from age-group cricket to the national team has been quick, but for Pujara it’s been a steady rise. He finished as the highest run-getter in the junior World Cup two years back and some breathtaking consistency at the domestic level has seen him rise to the India A level. But with a long queue outside the Team India middle-order, mere centuries aren’t enough to get noticed. Pujara, obviously, has taken note. “I know it’s tough to get the big break. But still this triple hundred is important.”

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This knock will also change the general perception about the technically sound batsman, who has often been labelled as too slow. Pujara insists that his strike-rate of 71.39 shouldn’t go unnoticed in the hype surrounding the 302 runs. “I could always play big knocks but now I know how to pace my innings,” he says.

Brief scores: Rajkot Saurashtra 620 for 4 decl in 162.5 overs (C Pujara n.o. 302, R Jadeja n.o. 232) vs Orissa 46 for no loss in 14 overs (BS Pati batting 29, SS Das batting 13)

First published on: 12-11-2008 at 12:32:10 am
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