Born on 25 January 1988 in Gujarat’s Rajkot, Cheteshwar Pujara turns 32 today. Pujara is a vital top-order batsman of the Indian test team. However, not many know that he in fact belongs to a cricketing family. His grandfather Shivlal Pujara was a brilliant leg-spinner. His father Arvind and uncle Bipin have played first-class cricket with the Saurashtra Ranji Team. Pujara though is the first from his family to represent India. To make sure that Pujara realises his dream, his father worked equally hard, if not more.

Father’s dream led him to become a cricketer

Cheteshwar’s father wanted his son to be a Test match cricketer and for that it was he himself who started training him since his childhood. In fact, Pujara has gone on record stating that his father was his first coach and he used to teach him the basics of the game. Pujara then picked up school cricket and gradually club cricket.

Once in 2005, Pujara was in Bhavnagar to play a cricket match. However, once he returned, he found that his mother was no more. Notably, his mother Reena was suffering from cancer. Post his mother’s death, his father made sure that he was always there for his son. It would be fair to say that Pujara’s success story is more of his father’s than his own.

Made his Test debut in 2010

After years of practice and scoring runs in domestic cricket circuit, Pujara made his Test debut in 2010. Since then, Pujara has played as many as 75 Test matches in which he has scored 5740 runs at an average of 49.48. This includes 18 hundreds and 24 half-centuries.

Despite being one of the best batsmen in the Test team, Cheteshwar Pujara has played only 5 ODIs till date in which he has scored 51 runs and has not been included in the ODI side since 2014.

‘The New Wall’

After the Wall- Rahul Dravid retired from Test cricket, there was apprehension among the fans that India may never be able to find someone like Rahul Dravid. However, Pujara has done his best to never let Indian cricket miss the absence of Dravid and it would not be an exaggeration  to call him ‘the new wall.’

Pujara even made the record for facing the most number of balls against Australia. In the Sydney Test in January 2019, Pujara batted for almost 9 hours for his 193. During the course of this innings, he played 373 deliveries. Although he missed out on a double hundred, he made a unique record. He now holds the distinction of being the Indian batsman who has played the most number of deliveries in a Test series in Australia

Cheteshwar Pujara played as many as 1258 deliveries in this series- more deliveries than 5 complete T20 matches. The right-handed batsman recently reached his 50th first-class hundred when he scored a ton in Ranji Trophy season and he would be crucial to India’s plans in the ICC Test Championship cycle.

Here is wishing him a very Happy Birthday.