India’s Cheteshwar Pujara will become the thirteenth Indian cricketer to play 100 Test matches when he takes the field against Australia in the second Test on February 17, 2023, in New Delhi.
Pujara, a 35-year-old batter from Saurashtra, has been an essential part of the Indian Test team for over a decade.
Despite the T20 and white-ball trend, Pujara has established himself as a five-day specialist by honing his craft as a classic Test batter.
He is only the second cricketer in the current team to play 100 Tests, with Virat Kohli being the other.
Pujara’s Test Career
Pujara made his Test debut in 2010 against Australia in Bengaluru, where he scored 4 and 72 in a winning effort.
He succeeded Rahul Dravid as India’s number 3 batter after the latter’s retirement.
Pujara has since scored 7,021 runs in 99 Tests for India, with an average of 44.15 runs per game, 19 centuries, and 34 half-centuries.
Pujara’s highest Test score is 206 not out, which he scored against England at Ahmedabad in 2012.
Staying Power and Discipline
Pujara’s discipline and staying power have been critical factors in his success as a Test batter.
Unlike many modern-day cricketers, Pujara prefers to specialize in one format, which means that he has long interludes between matches.
To maintain his form and focus, Pujara follows a strict routine, which includes fitness training, meditation, yoga, and pranayama, a breathing technique that helps him shut out external distractions.
Reflecting on his approach, Pujara stated, “I have certain routines, fitness, little bit of meditation, yoga, and pranayama because it is necessary to shut the outside noise, even if it is positive.
“When I made my debut, I never thought about playing 100 Test matches, and it’s always about the present. A hundred Tests are something that happens in a journey and something you can’t predict, but once you continue playing good cricket, it happens.”
Pujara has the chance to become the fourth Indian batter to score 2,000 runs in Tests against Australia.
If he scores 100 more runs, he will be the only active Indian batter besides Kohli to achieve the feat.
Pujara has also scored 7,021 Test runs in his career, making him the twelfth-highest run-scorer for India in Tests.
The 100 Tests Club in India
Pujara’s entry into India’s 100-Test club makes him the thirteenth Indian cricketer to achieve this feat. Here is a look at the other twelve members of the club:
Sachin Tendulkar, widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time, holds the record for the most Test runs (15,921) in his career. He also recorded his highest score of 248* against Bangladesh in 2004.
Rahul Dravid, the current head coach of the Indian team, played 163 Tests and is considered one of the finest Test batsmen of his generation.
V V S Laxman, who played 134 Tests in his 16-year career, rose to fame during the second Test of the 2001 series against Australia at the Eden Gardens, where he and Dravid set a record 376-run partnership, widely regarded as one of the finest in Test cricket.
Anil Kumble, India’s most successful Test bowler, took 619 wickets in his 132 games.
Kapil Dev, one of the greatest all-rounders of his time and the captain who led India to its first World Cup win in 1983, played 131 Tests and is the only cricketer to have taken more than 400 wickets and scored more than 5,000 Test runs.
Sunil Gavaskar played 125 Tests in his career from 1971 to 1987 and is considered one of the greatest openers in Test cricket history, with 34 Test centuries to his name.
Dilip Vengsarkar, known for his consistency, played 116 Tests and scored 6,868 runs, including 17 centuries.
Sourav Ganguly, widely acknowledged as one of India’s finest captains, played 113 Tests and scored 7,212 runs at an average of 42.17 with the help of 16 centuries.
Ishant Sharma became the second Indian seamer to play 100 Tests in February 2021 and has taken 311 wickets from his 105 Tests.
Harbhajan Singh, one of India’s most successful spin bowlers in Test cricket, took 417 wickets in his 17-year Test career.
Virender Sehwag revolutionized Test cricket with his explosive batting and played 103 Tests for India, scoring 8,503 runs.
Virat Kohli has scored 8,131 runs at an impressive average of 48.69 in his Test career so far and is considered one of the finest modern-day Test batsmen.