I wasn’t allowed to fly kites and play ‘Dandiya’ or gully cricket, reveals Cheteshwar Pujara
Pujara fondly remembers his mother buying him an INR 1500 bat and then paying the store in installments whenever she could.
Updated - Mar 2, 2020 8:35 pm
India’s dependable Cheteshwar Pujara was prepared for a life in cricket from a young age by his father and former Ranji player Arvind Pujara. The right-hander was born into a middle-class family which saw his father’s passion and discipline pave way for his son’s success going forward. Senior Pujara played six matches from 1976-1980 for Saurashtra.
He was a clerk in Indian railways and stationed in Rajkot, Saurashtra and identified his son’s talent with the bat playing gully cricket. Cheteshwar went through a lot during his younger days, as he was only allowed to participate in the tennis ball cricket as a wicketkeeper, but was never allowed to bat, as his father thought tennis ball had a different bounce from a regular cricket ball.
Pujara lost his mother early but has credited her by saying that he gets the discipline and calm mind part from her. Despite being a Gujarati, who loves their Navratri festival which has nine nights of dandiya and Garba, Cheteshwar was not allowed to play dandiya as the sticks could injure him. His success is built on a lot of sacrifice and dedication from not only himself but from his parents as well.
Late mother’s conviction and hard work instilled confidence in young Pujara
Pujara fondly remembers his mother buying him an INR 1500 bat and then paying the store in installments whenever she could. She also sewed his pads as the full-size ones didn’t fit him properly. She believed in her son and had the conviction that Cheteshwar will play for India one day– something that gave him confidence when he started playing cricket in his early days.
After scoring 5840 runs in 77 Tests at an average of 48.66 with 18 centuries and a total of 15705 runs in 202 FC matches with 50 centuries to his name and reaching a position where he is one of the highest-paid Test cricketers in the country; Pujara has realized that no other budding and aspiring cricketer from Rajkot should struggle to get amenities for which he worked so hard for.
Therefore, he and his father have decided to set up a cricket academy from scratch — helping young cricketers with all the coaching and infrastructure they need to succeed. His father worked hard for establishing the academy by overseeing the entire construction, even supervising and bringing over truckloads of black soil.