Batting in an uncharacteristic Cheteshwar Pujara manner, the Saurashtra batsman slammed 91 runs off 83 balls in the Ranji Trophy game against Mumbai in Ahmedabad. This knock from Pujara came just a day after he had been dropped from India’s Test squad to face Sri Lanka.
Senior batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were dropped from the Test side after their prolonged inconsistent rut in Test cricket. Pujara last scored a century on the 2018-19 tour of Australia while Rahane has just one century since October 2019.
The numbers of the pair have really been mediocre over the past couple of years: since the start of 2020, Pujara averages 26 in 20 Tests without a century and Rahane averages 24 in 19 Tests with one century to his name. However, both of them sent out a strong statement to the selectors with their performances in the Ranji game.
For Mumbai, Rahane scored a ton (129 off 290 balls). Pujara, although he bagged a duck in Saurashtra’s first innings, in the second, came out all guns blazing, and especially took down Mumbai’s spinner. In his 91-run knock of 83 balls, he sent the ball to the boundary 16 times, and on one occasion even clearing over the rope. Pujara’s counter-attacking knock came when Saurashtra were looking to avoid a defeat after being asked to bat again upon failing short of the follow-on score.
Fans reacted enthusiastically to Pujara’s attacking innings.
Cheteshwar Pujara has raced to 85 off just 77 balls in the second innings as Saurashtra look set to salvage a draw against Mumbai after being made to follow-on. 15 fours and six for him so far. #RanjiTrophy
— Shashank Kishore (@captainshanky) February 20, 2022
Well played, Pujara – 93 runs from just 83 balls including 16 fours and 1 six while following on in Ranji Trophy.
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) February 20, 2022
Tests – 95
Runs – 6713
100s – 18
50s – 32
Cheteshwar Pujara did very well for India. Was mainstay of India in 2010s and led us to many victories. Forever grateful for all the memories. I still wish you somehow plays 100 tests atleast pic.twitter.com/K0jF1uq816
— Aryan Singh (@14_aryanp) February 19, 2022
Pujara has just clobbered a pull for six. Tanush Kotian feeling the heat in the middle. A world class player of spin bowling is in the mood to target him today pic.twitter.com/yhyz8grtCq
— Ayan (@ayan_acharya13) February 20, 2022
a very crucial pair in the match pitch right now if Saurashtra if are to save the Game.And as we've seen in the past, Arpit and Jackson have always batted with immense grit and determination.Brilliant knocks by the Openers & Pujara@saucricket #RanjiTrophy @BCCIdomestic
— Dr. Arnav Anjaria (@ArniTheGreat) February 20, 2022
Pujara's wagon wheel today.
— Krithika (@krithika0808) February 20, 2022
@cheteshwar1 Pujara 91(83) ?
— Akshay Patil (@FoodJunkieGuy) February 20, 2022
Pujara deserves Respect. #Pujara
— Aman Rana (@AmanRan59111451) February 20, 2022
Cheteshwar Pujara dismissed for a magnificent 91 in just 83 balls. He smashed 16 fours and 1 six in his innings, missed out on a brilliant 2nd innings hundred.
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) February 20, 2022
Cheteshwar Pujara was dismissed after scoring 91 runs off 83 balls against Mumbai today. No player from Saurashtra has ever scored a First Class century in less than 100 balls ! He could have become the first one to do so.#RanjiTrophy
— Rhitankar Bandyopadhyay (@rhitankar8616) February 20, 2022
Pujara reaches his 50. Celebrates by pulling the day lights out of a short ball for four. Couple of balls later, he steps out to drive but a thick edge runs away to the third man fence. Next ball, he pushes for a brisk 2- "aavi ja, aavi ja". Pujara in cruise control @sportstarweb pic.twitter.com/AL30sN3Kdg
— Ayan (@ayan_acharya13) February 20, 2022
Pujara ,rahane dropped from test team but the bcci selector said that "doors are not close for them play ranji trophy make ton of runs and then comeback in team" we believe these stalwart comeback stronger @ajinkyarahane88 @cheteshwar1 they are legend they know how to comeback pic.twitter.com/WYPU3wWUiU
— Tejas Meshram (@im_tejasmeshram) February 20, 2022
Pujara scored 91 runs off 83 balls in Ranji Trophy against Mumbai today. Yes, you read that right.
— Rushil (@rushilthefirst) February 20, 2022
Chief selector Chetan Sharma said that the door remains open for the four senior players who have been dropped – Cheteshwar Pujara, Rahane, Ishant, and Saha – to make a comeback to the Test side.