Cheteshwar Pujara is equally valuable as Virat Kohli: Sourav Ganguly

Pujara is the highest scorer in the series and the second is too far behind.

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

There are some series which are best remembered for the batting or bowling exploit of just one individual. Alastair Cook in the 2010 Ashes Down Under, Mitchell Johnson in the Ashes of 2013-14 or Virat Kohli in Australia in 2014-15 are some examples of individuals standing out from the rest with their scarcely believable exploits. Well, the ongoing series between India and Australia is panning out in a similar fashion for Cheteshwar Pujara.

In a series where most of the batsmen including Kohli have struggled to score big, Pujara has been an exception by a mile. The whole series has so far witnessed only four tons and incredibly Pujara has scored three of them. Kohli has scored the other one. Pujara started the series with a fighting knock of 123 in Adelaide before playing a brilliant knock of 106 in Melbourne, helping India win both the game.

But he saved his best for the ongoing last Test in Sydney. The right-hander played one of the best knocks by an overseas batsman on Australian soil as he scored 193 to put India in the driver’s seat. As a result of his latest knock, Pujara has taken his run-tally in this series to an incredible 521. That no other batsman has managed to cross the 300-run mark so far speaks volume of Pujara’s achievement.

Ganguly goes gaga over Pujara

Comparing Pujara’s feat in the ongoing series with that of Kohli’s in the 2014-15 tour of Australia, former India skipper Sourav Ganguly has said that the former has made a bigger impact. On India’s last tour of Australia, Kohli had scored four centuries but could not guide the team to a single win.

“We all remember how sensational Virat Kohli was in Australia in 2014. He hit four centuries in four Tests but in this series, Cheteshwar Pujara has had a bigger impact than Kohli compared to that series. Because India have won all the Tests Pujara has hit a century in so far and maybe the same will happen in Sydney.

“India are very close to winning a Test series in Australia and I don’t think India can lose the game from here on. So India will win the series and these three centuries from Pujara has had a huge impact and you can’t compare with any other hundreds,” Ganguly told IndiaTV.

The legendary Indian skipper went on to say that Pujara is as important as Kohli to India in the longest format of the game because of his tremendous success both at home and away in the current season.

“He is an asset for any captain and I always say that No.3 in Test cricket is a very important position and six months back when we were talking about England, I said don’t think about Pujara’s strike-rate and after these three hundreds and how he has played outside the sub-continent. He even played really well and scored a 50 on a difficult Wanderers wicket, which was equal to 100 runs.

“So, in this Test team and after this Test series, I feel Pujara is equally valuable as Kohli. I also feel this is just the beginning for Pujara and the next three years will be even better for Pujara,” Ganguly opined.

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