A Statistical Comparison between two Indian batting behemoths: Rahul Dravid vs Cheteshwar Pujara in Tests

A Statistical Comparison between two Indian batting behemoths: Rahul Dravid vs Cheteshwar Pujara in Tests

Just like Rahul Dravid, Cheteshwar Pujara is a man who can bat for hours and watches the red cherry from the bowler’s hand like a hawk.

Rahul Dravid and Cheteshwar Pujara
Rahul Dravid and Cheteshwar Pujara. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Ask the bowlers who bowled to him, and they will tell you that it was indeed a Herculean task bowling to Rahul Dravid. The Indian batting legend was blessed with the quality of patience in abundance and went about building his innings, brick by brick. And, during his career that lasted more than a decade and a half, Dravid built many edifices with his willow that still shine forth brightly even today.

In a career that spanned a whopping 164 Test matches, Dravid scored 13288 runs in Test cricket. The right-handed batting icon has also amassed 36 centuries and 63 half-centuries as well in the whites. The batting legend retired from Test match cricket in the year 2012.

And, after Dravid’s retirement, the coveted No.3 spot in the Indian batting line-up in Test cricket has been occupied by Cheteshwar Pujara. Just like Dravid, Pujara is a man who can bat for hours and watches the red cherry from the bowler’s hand like a hawk. Pujara is unflappable once he gets his eye in and it is a challenging task for any bowler to breach his defense once he is set.

Pujara has featured in 85 Test matches for India and has scored 6244 runs. He has also scored 18 centuries and 29 half-centuries as well.

So, who is better between these two behemoths? How does Pujara fare in Test cricket when his numbers are pitted against the legendary Rahul Dravid. In this article, let us do some number crunching to draw some conclusions.

Overall Numbers of Rahul Dravid and Cheteshwar Pujara in Tests

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Let us first start by analyzing the overall numbers that Pujara and Dravid have generated in Test cricket in the table below.

Player Name Innings Runs Average Strike Rate 100s 50s 50+ scores Innings per 50+ Score
Rahul Dravid 286 13288 52.31 42.51 36 63 99 2.89
Cheteshwar Pujara 142 6244 46.60 44.91 18 29 47 3.02

An analysis of the overall numbers of Cheteshwar Pujara and Rahul Dravid suggests that Dravid is ahead of Pujara in most of the parameters. ‘The Wall’ averages 52.31 in Test cricket, which is higher than Pujara’s average of 46.60.

Also, Dravid has 99 fifty-plus scores in 286 innings, which means that he recorded a fifty-plus score once every 2.89 innings. On the other hand, Pujara has scored 47 fifty-plus scores in 142 innings, which translates to a fifty-plus score once every 3.02 innings. Pujara has a marginally better strike rate as compared to Dravid. There is no doubt that Dravid is well ahead of Pujara when the overall numbers of these two batsmen are analyzed.

Home and Away records of Rahul Dravid and Cheteshwar Pujara in Tests

Now, let us go a little deeper and analyze the Home and Away numbers of these two gladiators in the whites. The table below will reflect the same.

Records of Rahul Dravid and Cheteshwar Pujara at home

Player Name Innings Runs Average Strike Rate 100s 50s
Rahul Dravid 120 5598 51.36 42.38 15 27
Cheteshwar Pujara 70 3604 56.31 50.13 10 19

The analysis of the records of Pujara and Dravid reveals that Pujara has a better record at home compared to Dravid. The current Indian No.3 averages 56.31 in Tests played at home, as compared to Dravid, who averages 51.36. Also, Pujara has scored 10 centuries in 70 Test innings at home, which means that he has scored a Test century once every 7 Test innings.

Rahul Dravid, on the other hand, has scored 15 centuries in 120 Test innings at home, which means that he scores a Test century once every 8 innings at home.

Clearly, Pujara holds the edge over Dravid when the records of both these legends at home are analyzed.

Records of Rahul Dravid and Cheteshwar Pujara Away from Home

Player Name Innings Runs Average Strike Rate 100s 50s
Rahul Dravid 166 7690 53.03 42.60 21 36
Cheteshwar Pujara 72 2640 37.71 39.32 8 10

But then, when the away records of these two batsmen are analyzed, we find that Dravid is ahead of Pujara in every aspect, and is ahead by a mile. Dravid averages 15.32 more than Pujara in Tests played away from home. Also, Dravid has scored 21 Test hundreds in 166 away innings, which means that he has scored an away century once every 7.90 innings in the whites in away shores.

On the other hand, Pujara has scored just 8 hundreds in 72 away innings, which translates to a century once every 9 innings in away Tests. Dravid also has a better strike rate as compared to Pujara in away Tests as well.

Records of Rahul Dravid and Cheteshwar Pujara in a win or a draw

VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid
VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid. (© ARKO DATTA/AFP/Getty Images)

Two innings of Rahul Dravid in a win will be etched in Indian cricketing folklore for eternity. The first one is his classic 180 that he scored against Steve Waugh’s Australian side at the Eden Gardens in 2001. India posted a sensational come from behind victory, on the back of a 376-run partnership between Dravid and VVS Laxman, who scored 281.

The other Rahul Dravid gem that still shines forth brightly is the 233 that he scored at Adelaide. Dravid’s marathon innings that lasted 446 deliveries allowed India to beat Australia in the kangaroos’ own backyard.

Cheteshwar Pujara too has played some sensational knocks that have resulted in a win for his country. Pujara’s classic 206* against England in the year 2012 at Ahmedabad allowed India to beat their opposition by 9 wickets. Another Pujara special that resulted in a win for India is the 123 that he conjured against Australia in Adelaide in 2018. Pujara’s three-figure score helped India triumph over Australia in their own backyard and paved the way for a historic series win.

So, who among these two men has generated better numbers in a win or a draw for India?

Player Name Innings in a win/Draw Runs in a Win/Draw Average in a Win/Draw 100s in a Win/Draw 50s in a Win/Draw Innings per hundred in Win/Draw
Rahul Dravid 188 10510 65.27 32 51 5.88
Cheteshwar Pujara 102 5203 54.76 16 25 6.38

In terms of helping India to win or draw a Test match, it is Dravid who outshines Pujara. ‘The Wall’ has scored a staggering 10510 runs in a win or a draw in Tests and has scored his runs at an average of 65.27. Dravid has also amassed 32 centuries in a win or a draw in 188 innings, which means that he has scored a century once every 5.88 innings.

On the other hand, even though Pujara has scored 5203 runs in a win or a draw and averages a healthy 54.76, his numbers do not match up to that of Dravid’s. Also, Pujara has scored 16 centuries in 102 innings in a win or a draw, which means that he takes 6.38 innings to score a century in a win or a draw.

Clearly, Dravid has accumulated better numbers in a win or a draw as compared to Pujara.

Numbers of Rahul Dravid and Cheteshwar Pujara in SENA Countries

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Let us now come to the next important aspect. Let us dive deep into the numbers generated by these two stalwarts in South Africa, England, New Zealand, and Australia (SENA). The table below will reflect the same.

Rahul Dravid’s numbers in SENA Countries

Country Innings Runs Average 100s 50s
Australia 32 1166 41.64 1 6
England 23 1376 68.80 6 4
New Zealand 14 766 63.83 2 5
South Africa 22 624 29.71 1 2

Dravid has accumulated mind-boggling numbers in England and New Zealand. While the batting legend has scored over 1000 runs in England and has scored his runs at a colossal average of 68.80, he also piled up 766 runs in New Zealand and scored his runs at an average of 63.83. Dravid has also scored 8 centuries in England and New Zealand put together.

He also boasts of good numbers in Australia as well. Dravid has scored 1166 runs in 32 innings in the land of the kangaroos and has scored his runs at an average of 41.64. But then, ‘The Wall’ could never conquer the land of the Proteas. In the 22 innings that he played in South Africa, Dravid could only score 624 runs and averaged a poor 29.71.

Cheteshwar Pujara’s numbers in SENA Countries

Country Innings Runs Average 100s 50s
Australia 21 993 47.29 3 5
England 18 500 29.41 1 2
New Zealand 8 160 20.00 0 1
South Africa 13 411 31.62 1 2

Cheteshwar Pujara has generated better numbers than Rahul Dravid in Australia. The 33-year-old has scored 993 runs on Australian soil and has scored his runs at an average of 47.29. He has also scored 2 centuries more than Dravid even though Dravid played 11 innings more than Pujara in Australia. Clearly, Pujara gains the upper hand over Dravid when the numbers of these two batsmen in Australia are analyzed.

In England and New Zealand, Dravid dwarfs Pujara. Pujara has struggled in both England as well as New Zealand. He averages a poor 29.41 in England and has scored just a single century in 18 innings. Dravid averaged 39.39 points more than Pujara in England. In New Zealand too, Pujara has experienced misery.

Pujara has scored just 160 runs in the land of the kiwis and averages 20.00. Dravid averages 43.83 points higher than Pujara in New Zealand. In South Africa, Pujara marginally outshines Dravid. While Dravid averaged 29.71 in South Africa, Pujara averages 31.62.

Performances of Rahul Dravid and Cheteshwar Pujara in SENA Countries in a Win or Draw

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

We are not done with the SENA comparison yet. In the table below, let us take a look at the performances of Dravid and Pujara in a win or a draw in SENA Countries in a condensed form.

Player Name Innings in a Win/Draw in SENA Runs in a Win/Draw in SENA Average in a Win/Draw in SENA 100s in a Win/Draw in SENA 50s in a Win/Draw in SENA
Rahul Dravid 41 2430 71.47 7 12
Cheteshwar Pujara 28 1313 46.89 4 7

Rahul Dravid is way ahead of Cheteshwar Pujara in helping India win or draw a Test match in SENA countries. He averages a staggering 71.47 in a win or a draw for India and has scored 7 centuries in 41 innings in a win or a draw in SENA countries, which translates to a century once every 5.86 innings.

On the other hand, Pujara averages only 46.89 in a win or a draw in SENA nations. And, while this is not a bad average, it pales when pitted against the average of Dravid. Also, Pujara has scored 4 centuries in 28 innings in a win or a draw in SENA countries, which means that he has scored a century once every 7 innings.

Clearly, Pujara is no match to Dravid when the performances of these two men in SENA countries in a win or a draw are taken into consideration.

Numbers of Rahul Dravid and Cheteshwar Pujara in the 4th innings of a Test Match

Rahul Dravid
Indian batsman Rahul Dravid plays a shot during fifth day play of the third Test cricket match between India and the West Indies at The Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on November 26, 2011. (Photo credit PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)

Let us now come to the final aspect of comparison and dissect the numbers of these two batsmen in the 4th innings of a Test match in the table below.

Player Name Innings Runs Average 100s 50s
Rahul Dravid 57 1575 40.38 1 9
Cheteshwar Pujara 24 620 29.52 0 4

Rahul Dravid outperforms Cheteshwar Pujara when the numbers of these two batsmen in the 4th innings of a Test match are analyzed. Dravid has scored 1575 runs in the 4th innings of a Test and averages 40.38 as well. He has also plundered a hundred and 9 fifties in the 4th innings of a Test match.

On the other hand, Pujara has scored 620 runs in the 4th innings of a Test match and averages a poor 29.52. He has not scored a single century in the 4th innings as well. Clearly, Dravid stands tall when the numbers in the 4th innings are analyzed.

In The End

While Cheteshwar Pujara has a better record than Rahul Dravid in Test matches played at home and has performed better than Dravid in Australia and South Africa, it is Dravid who outshines Pujara in most of the other aspects.

Dravid has a better record in Away Tests as compared to Pujara, outshines the current Indian No.3 in England and New Zealand, has generated superior numbers as compared to Pujara in a win or a draw in Tests, and has also generated better numbers than Pujara in the 4th innings of a Test match.

Pujara still has time to improve on his game, and he will continue to encounter challenges in the whites for his country in the future as well. But as of now, Dravid definitely holds the edge over Pujara.

Note: All the stats have been taken from Cricinfo and Howstat Cricket and have been updated as on 14th June 2021.