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It’s early days, but Cheteshwar Pujara’s phenomenal numbers so far puts him right behind Don Bradman on many counts

It’s early days, but Cheteshwar Pujara’s phenomenal numbers so far puts him right behind Don Bradman on many counts
Cheteshwar Pujara scored 269 against Tamil Nadu on Sunday in a Ranji Trophy 2013-14 match © PTI

Cheteshwar Pujara scored his ninth First-Class double-hundred against Tamil Nadu at Chennai on December 1, 2013. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at the rapid ascent of the Saurashtra youngster.

With his 269 in the run-fest at Chennai, Cheteshwar Pujara joined the list of batsmen who have scored nine First-Class double-hundreds. Since as many as 38 batsmen have scored 10 or more this may not seem to be a phenomenal feat. However, what makes Pujara’s feat special is the fact that only Don Bradman has scored as many double-hundreds at a younger age.

Pujara was 25 years 310 days old when he got that 269 against Tamil Nadu on Sunday. Had he got 31 more runs he would have been the fourth batsman (after Bradman, Bill Ponsford, and Wally Hammond) to score four First-Class triple-hundreds.

It must be remembered that Pujara has batted in only 143 innings, which is substantially less than the others. In fact, he has taken the minimum innings (after Ravindra Jadeja) among those who have scored three triple-hundreds.

Most 300s in First-Class cricket

 

Inns

300s

Inns per 300

Ravindra Jadeja

70

3

23.3

Cheteshwar Pujara

143

3

47.7

Don Bradman

338

6

56.3

Bill Ponsford

235

4

58.8

Brian Lara

440

3

146.7

Michael Hussey

486

3

162.0

Wally Hammond

1,005

4

251.3

Graeme Hick

871

3

290.3

WG Grace

1,478

3

492.7

[Note: Jadeja’s conversion rate has been phenomenal. Four of his seven hundreds have been over 200; three of these four have been over 300.]

What about double-hundreds, then? Where does Pujara stand in when compared to the ones with 10 or more First-Class double-hundreds? Here, too, he comes only next to Bradman — ahead of the other champions of First-Class cricket:

Most 200s in First-Class cricket

 

Inns

200s

Inns per 200

Don Bradman

338

37

9.1

Cheteshwar Pujara

143

9

15.9

Bill Ponsford

235

13

18.1

Vijay Merchant

234

11

21.3

Wally Hammond

1,005

36

27.9

Younis Khan

304

10

30.4

Brian Lara

440

13

33.8

KS Ranjitsinhji

500

14

35.7

Bobby Simpson

436

12

36.3

Vijay Hazare

367

10

36.7

Brad Hodge

388

10

38.8

CB Fry

658

16

41.1

Darren Lehmann

479

11

43.5

Mark Ramprakash

764

17

44.9

Rahul Dravid

497

10

49.7

Justin Langer

622

12

51.8

Javed Miandad

632

12

52.7

Graeme Hick

871

16

54.4

Sunil Gavaskar

563

10

56.3

Patsy Hendren

1,300

22

59.1

Gordon Greenidge

889

14

63.5

Herbert Sutcliffe

1,098

17

64.6

Percy Holmes

810

12

67.5

Len Hutton

814

11

74.0

Graham Gooch

990

13

76.2

Johnny Tyldesley

994

13

76.5

Zaheer Abbas

768

10

76.8

Glenn Turner

792

10

79.2

Viv Richards

796

10

79.6

Joe Hardstaff

812

10

81.2

Arthur Shrewsbury

813

10

81.3

Jack Hobbs

1,325

16

82.8

Reg Simpson

852

10

85.2

Mike Gatting

861

10

86.1

Andy Sandham

1,000

11

90.9

Jack Hearne

1,025

11

93.2

Geoff Boycott

1,014

10

101.4

Phil Mead

1,340

13

103.1

WG Grace

1,478

13

113.7

What about Tests, then? From 15 Tests Pujara has scored 1,310 runs at a phenomenal 65.50. Of all batsmen with 15 or more Tests Pujara ranks second in terms of batting average — next to Bradman (who should be eliminated from such lists for the sake of sanity).

However, it really isn’t fair to compare Pujara’s career to that of other greats: after all, he has played only 15 Tests while Herbert Sutcliffe has averaged 60.73 over a period of 54 Tests. Let us, then, compare the top batsmen after their first 15 Tests. Only ten people had averaged more than Pujara after 15 Tests, and none of them is an Indian.

First 15 Tests

Rest of career

Career

Tests

Runs

Ave

Tests

Runs

Ave

Tests

Runs

Ave

Don Bradman

15

2,215

105.48

37

4,781

97.57

52

6,996

99.94

Jimmy Adams

15

1,351

84.44

39

1,661

29.14

54

3,012

41.26

Michael Hussey

15

1,560

82.11

64

4,675

45.83

79

6,235

51.53

Herbert Sutcliffe

15

1,509

79.42

39

3,046

54.39

54

4,555

60.73

Arthur Morris

15

1,408

70.4

31

2,125

37.95

46

3,533

46.49

Neil Harvey

15

1,381

69.05

64

4,768

44.56

79

6,149

48.42

Everton Weekes

15

1,576

68.52

33

2,879

54.32

48

4,455

58.62

Wally Hammond

15

1,506

68.45

70

5,743

56.3

85

7,249

58.46

Frank Worrell

15

1,403

66.81

36

2,457

43.11

51

3,860

49.49

Thilan Samaraweera

15

857

65.92

66

4,605

46.52

81

5,462

48.77

Cheteshwar Pujara

15

1,310

65.5

Of the ten men, Jimmy Adams has been the only one with an ordinary career. His average dropped drastically as his career progressed before he eventually vanished into oblivion. Based on the numbers it is very likely that Pujara might finish with an exceptional career.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is a cricket historian and Senior Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He generally looks upon life as a journey involving two components – cricket and literature – though not as disjoint elements. A passionate follower of the history of the sport with an insatiable appetite for trivia and anecdotes, he has also a steady love affair with the incredible assortment of numbers that cricket has to offer. He also thinks he can bowl decent leg-breaks in street cricket, and blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in. He can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

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