Ever since he arrived on the Indian Test cricket scene, comparing Cheteshwar Pujara with Rahul Dravid has become a media pastime. On a day when Pujara scored his second Test double century in Tests, the topic has surfaced once again, but former Australian Test batsman Dean Jones has a word of caution.
Like Sunil Gavaskar, whose record on the numbers of Tests (11) taken to reach a 1000 Test runs Pujara equaled in Hyderabad on Friday, Jones feels any comparison between Dravid is just "ill-timed."
Jones, who is an NDTV expert, said: "Let's not put pressure (on Pujara) by comparing him to Dravid. He has a solid defence, but that has to be tested overseas."
In a Test career spanning 11 matches, Pujara has travelled overseas just once. In three Test innings in Durban and Cape Town in December-January 2010-2011, Pujara has scored 31 runs, with a best of 19 in a low-scoring game at Kingsmead that India won 87 runs, thanks to Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan.
India are scheduled to tour South Africa and three years later, Jones and Gavaskar feel Pujara will be more "composed and sure". But the real test lies overseas, opines the batting greats.
WHY PUJARA IS SPECIAL?
Cheteshwar Pujara (204) posted his second double hundred in Tests - his first being 206 not out against England at Ahmedabad in November 2012.
# Pujara has completed his 1,000 runs in 18 innings - 1017 at an average of 67.80, including four hundreds and a fifty. The said feat is the second quickest in terms of innings by an Indian batsman, next only to Vinod Kambli (14). Herbert Sutcliffe (England) and Sir Everton Weekes (West Indies) took 12 innings each for their respective 1,000 runs - a world record.
# In terms of Tests taken for reaching 1000 for India, Sunil Gavaskar and Pujara have taken 11 Tests each followed by Vinod Kambli (12), Vijay Hazare (13) and Sadagoppan Ramesh (13).
# Pujara is averaging 83.00 against Australia in three Tests - his aggregate being 332 in five innings, including a double hundred and a fifty.
# Pujara is the seventh Indian batsman to register a double hundred against Australia, joining Sachin Tendulkar (two), VVS Laxman (two), Rahul Dravid, Ravi Shastri, Gautam Gambhir and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
# Since November 2012, Pujara has registered three double hundreds and a triple hundred in first-class cricket - 206 not out against England, 203 not out against Madhya Pradesh, 352 against Karnataka and 204 against Australia.
# Pujara is the first Indian batsman to register a double hundred at Uppal, Hyderabad in Tests.
# Pujara is averaging 181.50 at Uppal, Hyderabad - his aggregate being 363 in two innings. He is the only one to hit 50 boundaries or more at this venue - 49 fours + two sixes.
# Pujara's double hundred is the 43rd for India in Tests. Both Tendulkar and Sehwag have recorded six double centuries each - an Indian record.