Pujara moves past Borde's record

Pujara moves past Borde's record
Cheteshwar Pujara may have been extremely disappointed to miss out on a deserved century on the opening day of the one-off Test against Bangladesh but he nevertheless retired back to the dressing room having broken a 52-year-old record.

The 29-year-old Pujara, who has now firmly re-established himself as the premier one-down batsman in the team, on Thursday surpassed Chandu Borde for the most runs by a batsman in an Indian first-class season after accumulating an astonishing 1605 runs this season. With a top score of 256 not out in the Duleep Trophy final for India Blue, Pujara has been in sensational form in whites for his state Saurashtra, Rest of India (Irani Cup) and the national team.

India’s best batsman behind skipper Virat Kohli with 836 runs in the last calendar year, Pujara has scored six centuries and seven half-centuries in his 21 innings this first-class season.

“His average so far this season is an astonishing 89.16 but the Saurashtra pro has gone about his business without much fanfare, hardly drawing the attention someone like skipper Virat Kohli commands.

“I think he’s going to become a great player, he’s a great player,” Muraji Vijay said of Pujara, with whom he shares a great rapport on the field. “It’s great honour to move along with him and pick his brains. We are totally different characters in the dressing room because we don't think the same way but once we go in the middle, we enjoy the company and enjoy each other’s success. We really enjoy each other’s company out there in the middle and he has a solid game. He makes things easy for me and we both share a good rapport and that makes it easy inside. He’s been a fantastic role model for all the youngsters in India. Hopefully he can continue doing the great work.”

Pujara touching such unscaled heights is indeed great news not just for the hardworking and unassuming cricketer but for India as well. About two and half years ago during India's tour of England, his career seemed at the cross-roads as he averaged 22.20 in five Test matches. Down on confidence he struggled during 2014-15 tour to Australia that saw him being dropped and hurtle down the pecking order in a team where there’s extreme competition for places. His redemption came in Sri Lanka where, playing as an opener, he carried his bat through with a match-winning 145 in the first innings of the third Test. From thereon, enjoying the confidence of the team management, he seems to have gone better and better. With four matches against Australia yet to come, Pujara will now be targeting to set a mark that will be difficult to conquer.
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