GenNext Pujara shows how it is done in the old masters’ style

FP

At the crease, in short, Pujara was thoroughly unselfconscious — about how he looked, or how his opponents or the crowd reacted to him. It's hard to say this about anyone else from the IPL generation. He never lost focus, but didn't look like he needed to work particularly hard to maintain it.

"I've done the same thing in domestic cricket," he said at the end of the day's play. "I never like to get out. There's always a price on my wicket. Even after scoring a double hundred I never wanted to give away my wicket. That's the reason why I am able to score big runs."

He has done that all his life. Eleven years ago, Pujara scored an unbeaten 306 for Saurashtra's under-14s against Baroda. In the 2008-09 season, in the span of a single month, he scored two triple hundreds for his state's under-22 side and another for the senior side in the Ranji Trophy. Had MS Dhoni not declared, and had his teammates stayed at the crease with him, Pujara might well have reached that landmark here.

When he made his maiden Test century, against New Zealand in August, Pujara carried on till 159, before an uncharacteristic lofted shot brought about his dismissal. This time, he reserved his only act of over-exuberance with the bat for celebrating his double century. Almost bewildered by his own reaction, he acknowledged the cheers of his fellow Gujaratis in the crowd and put his helmet back on with a sheepish grin.

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