Cheteshwar Pujara has it in him to make his way into the Indian Test squad

India off-late has struggled in Test matches and the situation does not look good as some of the senior pros who have been serving the nation from the past two decades are making their way for the youngsters or are at the fag-end of their career. Rahul Dravid retired recently and India need to find players who can be as effective as the great man was on that crucial number three position.

The first name that comes to mind of a player who has the ability to replace Dravid is of Cheteshwar Pujara. Pujara has always been considered as a batsman who has the potential of replacing one of the aging legs of the Indian Test squad. When Indian batting great Rahul Dravid was going through a lean patch in 2009-2010, this Saurashtra batsman was scoring tons of runs in the domestic circuit. There were even talks that India should take the hard decision of dropping Dravid to fit in Pujara in their ranks.

Pujara lead the India A side against the west Indies A team and he was the only batsman who could manage to score substantial runs in the seamer friendly conditions. The coach of the team Lalchand Rajput in an interview said that the Saurashtra batsman is sincere and hardworking as Dravid and that there are a lot of similarities between Pujara and Dravid.

Pujara, who made his Test debut back in 2010, somehow fell out of selector’s favour but now has took a huge step towards regaining his spot in the Test side after his match winning 96 against West Indies A.

Pujara made his debut in 2010 against Australia in a home series and rose to the occasion in the second Test on his debut as he scored 72 to help India win the match. One thing is for sure that he has technique to play the longer version of the game as he has the distinction of scoring three triple tons in a span of one month.

And what his innings in West Indies has proved is his knack at winning matches. He has played three Tests for India and has already helped them win a match. Barring that, he has not been able to do much for the team but then he did not have many matches at his disposal to prove his worth at the international level.

However things won’t be as easy for him this time around as he is facing some stiff competition from some his India A team-mates. Let’s have a look at some of the other batsmen who are fighting for the same spot.

Rohit Sharma:
He is a class player and it is hard to believe that he is still to make his Test debut. It is a fact that he struggled against the West Indies A team recently but that can be considered as one lapse in this highly talented cricketer’s career. He is regarded very highly in the cricket world and Indian selectors will have to have very strong reasons not to include him in the Test squad in the near future. The only thing that goes against this talented Mumbai batsman is his casual attitude. He tends to lose focus in the middle of his innings and gets out to some bad shots. Sharma is also in the Indian A squad that is playing in West Indies and so far Pujara has outshone him as a batsman there.

Ajinkya Rahane:
He is also a very experienced batsman in the domestic circuit and the kind influence that he had on IPL-5 was awesome. Rahane has a very good technique. He missed out in the Test series against West Indies A, but came back strongly in the one-dayers. He showed that he can negotiate pace and bounce in the short stint that he had in England. He looks a good player and might be very effective in that number three position as he has done so well in opening the innings.

By Gaurav Jha
Indian Sports News Network