India captain Virat Kohli was full of praise for Cheteshwar Pujara after the end of the third Test against Australia in Ranchi, which ended in a draw.
Pujara was named the Player of the Match for his brilliant performance with the bat as he scored the third double century of his Test career. In facing 525 deliveries during his innings, he created a record for the most balls faced by an Indian batsman in a Test innings.
Kohli feels that people don’t understand the importance of Pujara and what he brings to the Indian Test team. He said that the Saurashtra batsman always puts his hand up when a pressure situation arises.
“Sometimes, I feel really bad for him [Pujara] that, you know, people don’t understand his importance so much in this team and what a valuable player he is for us,” said Kohli.
“He’s the most composed player we have in the team, he’s willing to grind for his runs, he doesn’t mind batting under pressure, he likes to take a challenge of batting long.
“So, someone like that is priceless to have in the team and when the pressure situation comes, he always wants to put his hand up and play long for the team and hold up one end which is a great quality in him.”
In fact, Pujara – during his knock in the third Test against Australia – overtook Kohli as the highest run-scorer for India in their ongoing home season.
In 12 Tests, the 29-year-old batsman has notched up 1259 runs at an average of 66.26 with four centuries to his name.
“This season, he [Pujara] has been understanding. I don’t know the number of runs he has scored, but he has contributed throughout and he’s not been spoken about or been the focus too much, but I think he deserves much more than that,” added Kohli.
“People need to stand up and take notice of what he’s done this season. He’s been outstanding with the bat and I hope he can continue till the last Test match as well.”
Pujara showcasing the art of batting time...a diminishing art in this era. #INDvAUS— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) March 19, 2017