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'The best thing is his positive attitude and willingness to learn'

How Rahul Dravid and others rate Cheteshwar Pujara

February 5, 2007

Rahul Dravid Rahul Dravid

Obviously, Cheteshwar has a lot of potential. He looks a very good batsman, both technically and mentally. He has been very impressive. He has had a good season. He is very young and has to keep improving and developing into a complete batsman. He has got all the right opportunities at the right times. He has to continue to score heavily and consistently.

The key is he has to convert his 50s into big 100s and beyond with a fair degree of regularity. It shouldn't be a difficult task for a batsman like him, who has scored so many runs in junior international cricket. I think he has a good future.

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Venkatesh Prasad Venkatesh Prasad
former India fast bowler and Under-19 coach:

Apart from his obvious talent, the best thing about Cheteshwar is his positive attitude and willingness to learn and improve his game.

He is principally a batsman and his patience and determination make him a dangerous customer, because he already has a good technique. He has to continue to score really heavily in first-class cricket to stake his claim for national selection.

He has it in him to play for India one day; it is only a matter of time.

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Kiran More Kiran More
former India wicket-keeper and former chairman of the national selection committee:

Cheteshwar is a precocious player. He is a compact, organised batsman and appears very, very talented. His consistently good performances are in keeping with his prodigious talents. He is a heavy-scoring, big innings player endowed with an ideal temperament for cricket at the highest level. He has the makings of a complete batsman.

Of course, a player of Cheteshwar's ability can be an asset to any side. If he keeps performing as successfully in first-class cricket as he has done in junior cricket all these years, there is no reason why he can't make it to Team India one day.

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Debu Mitra
Coach of Saurashtra's Ranji Trophy team, who once coached Sourav Ganguly:

Cheteshwar has tremendous powers of concentration. Technically, too, he is very good as he applies both mind and method when batting. His shot selection is also laudable. More often than not he gets out only to really good deliveries.

Pressure invariably brings the best out of Cheteshwar, because he is very tough mentally. You can always rely on him in trying circumstances. But he'll be better off working a little on his back foot play. If you look at most great batsmen, they all are very powerful back foot players. Once Cheteshwar improves his back foot play, he'll be a far better player than he is.

He has a very good future in Test cricket, because his batting is more suited to the longer version of the game.

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Arvind Pujara
Former Ranji Trophy player and Cheteshwar's father:

Chintu, as we affectionately call him, has always been an ideal and obedient son. He is my only child, but we've never pampered him unnecessarily. He has always been an introvert and opens up only rarely. But this virtue has helped him a lot as a batsman, because batting is all about application, concentration and determination.

I was a cricketer myself, but I never told Chindu to take up the willow game. I'd have allowed him to go for any other sport. But he has never played any other sport in his life! In fact, he began to show glimpses of his cricketing talents when he was barely 4 or 5 - the way he would bowl, the way he would hold bat and the way he would catch the ball.

Looking at his skills at such a tender age, my late wife and I decided to provide all the encouragement and necessary facilities for his proper development as a cricketer. He does miss his mother, who played an important part in encouraging him as a cricketer and making him a good human being.

It's a pity she isn't alive today to see Chintu's progress. It is her dream that Chintu play one day for Team India. She would always tell him never to forget that particular wish of hers.

He has been brought up in a typical middle-class atmosphere, and he has never demanded anything special from us. He is quite capable of adjusting himself and his game in any atmosphere, any situation. If left to him, and if possible, he would go on playing cricket for 24 hours, he loves the game so much.

Chintu has been a good student, too, and had cleared his SSC (Class X) examinations at the first attempt with first-class. But since he is busy playing cricket almost around the year, he has been unable to take his HSC (Class XII) for the last couple of years.

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Bipin Pujara
Former Ranji Trophy player and Cheteshwar's uncle:

I've played a lot of cricket for Saurashtra, but never ever have I come across a young cricketer from this particular region with as much patience, determination and will for success as Chintu has shown. I say this not because he is my nephew but because I've seen, met and played with many cricketers from Saurashtra, and I know their attitude towards their cricket and life pretty well.

Chintu can never be selfish. He'll do anything and everything for his team, whether it is Saurashtra or India's junior squad. He is a good listener. He seeks advice from elders and follows it too. All I've told him is to listen to everyone but never to curb his natural game.

He is already knocking at the doors of Team India on the strength of his prowess and performance. He is an enormously talented cricketer with a level head. He is bound to bring laurels for his family, his region, his state and, of course, for his country.

As told to Haresh Pandya
Photographs: AFP/Getty Images

Also read:

Cheteshwar Pujara A talent for tomorrow
'I am a natural batsman'

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