Far away from the noise of IPL 2022, Cheteshwar Pujara has has sent out a strong message to the Indian cricket team selectors with his marathon double century on his Sussex debut of the County Championship Division 2 game against Derbyshire.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who managed just 6 runs in the first innings, recorded the highest individual score on the first-class debut for Sussex, scoring an unbeaten 201 off 387 deliveries in the second innings versus Derbyshire.
Pujara’s 201* was partnered by captain Tom Haines’ 243 in a stand of 351 in 119 overs, as the pair helped Sussex bounce back and draw the game after following on 331 behind.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who had been dropped from the Indian Test team for the Sri Lanka series earlier, took to Twitter to express his glee for slamming a double ton on his Sussex debut.
“Enjoyed my debut game for @SussexCCC. Glad that I could contribute to the team’s cause. Looking forward to the next game!” the 34-year-old tweeted.
— cheteshwar pujara (@cheteshwar1) April 17, 2022
Pujara became only the second Indian to score a double-century in the County Championship after Mohammad Azharuddin who struck 212 against Leicestershire in 1991 and 205 against Durham in 1994, both for Derbyshire.
Pujara, now sitting on 14 first-class double centuries, also went past Kumar Sangakkara’s tally of 13 double hundred, the most by an Asian player. Only eight batters have more first-class double-hundreds than Pujara.
With this brilliant knock, in which he looked in control for the most part of his innings, Cheteshwar Pujara will hope for a comeback to the Test squad for the upcoming one-off Test versus England at Edgbaston that will be played in July.
Hanuma Vihari replaced Cheteshwar Pujara at number 3 in the Sri Lanka series after the senior batter had been dropped following an inconsistent form and lack of a big score in the past couple of years.
His last Test century came in January 2019, and since the start of 2020, Pujara has scored 973 runs in 38 innings at an average of 26 with 8 half-centuries. A series loss in South Africa, where he averaged 20 in 3 Tests, was the final nail for Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane’s place in the eleven.