Cheteshwar Pujara, the Indian Test specialist, has added another feather to his cap by scoring 20,000 runs in First-Class cricket. He achieved this feat during Saurashtra’s match against Vidarbha in the Ranji Trophy on Sunday.
Pujara became the fourth Indian batsman to cross the 20,000-run mark in First-Class cricket, after Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, and Sunil Gavaskar. Among the four Indians who have scored 20,000 or more runs in First-Class cricket, Pujara has the highest average of 54.32. Gavaskar is second with 51.46, followed by Tendulkar with 50.67 and Dravid with 49.94. While Gavaskar has 25834 runs to his name, Tendulkar and Dravid have amassed 25356 runs and 23794 runs respectively. Pujara is also the youngest among them to reach the milestone, at the age of 34 years and 57 days.
He also has the most double hundreds (17) by an Indian in this format, surpassing Gavaskar’s 16.
Pujara’s record-breaking double hundred was also appreciated by his fans and former cricketers on social media, who hailed his consistency and hunger for runs. Many also expressed their hope that he would return to the Indian Test squad soon, as India is set to host England in a four-match series next month.
Pujara, who is known for his solid defence and patience, scored 66 runs in the second innings to help Saurashtra set a target of 461 for Vidarbha. He reached the landmark when he flicked a delivery from Harsh Dubey to the square leg boundary.
In the pantheon of Indian cricket, Pujara has carved out his own unique niche. Despite modern cricket moving towards quickfire runs and T20 glory, Pujara stands tall like a wall, resolute in defence in the Test arena.
His dominance in the Ranji Trophy is visible by his mountain of runs. Pujara’s Ranji Trophy numbers are staggering. With more than 20,000 runs from 259 matches at an average of more than 50, he reigns supreme in the coveted domestic tournament. He has amassed a whopping 61 centuries and 77 half-centuries.
Over the years, Pujara’s batting in the Ranji Trophy has been a classic example of a masterclass in patience and concentration. His ability to grind down bowlers and build monumental innings unfazed by fiery spells is what sets him apart from others. His Ranji performances show how his foundation has always been strong, with unwavering focus and composure. But Pujara’s impact on the Ranji Trophy cannot be gauged by mere numbers. His dedication and work ethic is reflected in his performances and shows that success can come from grit and technique, not just flashy strokes.