Cheteshwar Pujara is Indian cricket's major success story this season, his impressive dream run continues. A wonderfully gifted player, Pujara lived on the fringes of Indian cricket for some time, respected and feared by opponents as a run hungry batsman. In that sense Pujara is the true successor to Ajay Sharma, the Bradman of Ranji, who scored a staggering 31 hundreds in 92 matches averaging 76!
At Hyderabad, Pujara once again confirmed that he is the real deal, his second double hundred is proof of polished technique, mental toughness and a serious desire for accumulating runs. Some detect shades of Rahul Dravid in India's new number three based on similar poise, elegant style and the old world unhurried air about their batting.
Instead of debating whether, or how closely, Pujara is related to Dravid in cricket terms what must catch our attention is the larger lesson from Pujara's success. What stands out clearly from Pujara's example is it helps a young player to go through the grind of domestic cricket and score big before gaining entry into the Indian dressing room. Point is: there is no substitute for experience, there are no short cuts to success and Ranji, even when non competitive and friendly, helps players to grow.
It is good Pujara has come through the system, climbed up the ladder step by step. Since his debut seven seasons ago he has made close to 5000 runs with 14 centuries including three triples. Surely this is one reason he shifted so comfortably from first class to international cricket.
More than others, Pujara's success should remind selectors that consistent performance at the domestic level should be rewarded. Too often, seduced by the promise of potential, young players are gifted the India cap and fast tracked into the big league only to be exposed as inadequate and underprepared when asked tough questions.
In that context, Puajara's second double hundred is not just a statement about his talent but a pointer about our domestic structure, and the system of selection.
Note: The author's views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of NDTV.