Home > News >

Rahul Dravid and Dilip Vengsarkar back Cheteshwar Pujara for success in ODIs

(From Left) Dilip Vengsarkar, Rahul Dravid and Cheteshwar Pujara at a function in Mumbai on Friday © PTI
(From Left) Dilip Vengsarkar, Rahul Dravid and Cheteshwar Pujara at a function in Mumbai on Friday © PTI

By G Krishnan

Three generation of cricketers, each one a stylish top-order batsman and a vital cog in the Indian team’s batting line-up in their era, came on one stage on Friday. While two of them have etched their names among the greats, the third has the wherewithal to emulate them.

Belonging to the classical mould of batting, the trio have also made adjustments to their game to suit demands of shorter versions of the game.

Dilip Vengsarkar played One-Day Internationals (ODIs) when it was at its nascent stage and was part of the team that won World Cup in 1983, the World Championship of Cricket in Australia in 1985 and the Rothmans Cup in Sharjah the same year.

Vengsarkar made the Indian team purely as a batsman and played majority of his 129 ODIs batting at No. 4. Rahul Dravid was considered a Test specialist but went on to become one of the greats in the one-dayers. He even had to don wicket-keeping gloves during Sourav Ganguly‘s captaincy to stay in the side and give the team the option of that extra batsman or bowler.

Cheteshwar Pujara, two ODIs old and an established Test No. 3, said recently that he had begun to bowl off-spinners to make it to the ODI squad. In the recent Asia Cup, he could not find a place in the XI despite being in the 15-man squad.

An attacking player with an impressive record in List A, Pujara will make an ideal batsman in ODIs, feel former India captains Dravid and Vengsarkar.

Dravid, said “Someone like Pujara can definitely make a mark in one-day cricket. I speak from my own personal experiences of someone who was sort of seen as a Test player, I was able to develop and build my game for one-day cricket and play successfully for a long time. I have no doubt that Pujara has the skill and the ability to do that. It is nice to see that he has got into the Indian one-day squad.”

About Pujara’s efforts to add off-spin as an additional skill, Dravid said it was fine but that should not be the benchmark for his selection. ”In the end, Pujara will be judged by his batting. I have never seen Pujara bowl, I don’t know how good his bowling is. Having an extra string to your bow is nice but I don’t think it is critical in the sense that Dilip (Vengsarkar) for a large part of his career did not have another skill. I kept (wickets) only for a short period in my one-day career though I rate my off-spin quite well, I got Saeed Anwar out. I did not need another skill. If you are a good enough player and get into the top five in the batting line-up, then you don’t necessarily need another skill.”

Vengsarkar added that Pujara’s efforts to bowl off-spin will benefit the team. “If Pujara is picked in the team, it will be for sheer batting, not because he can bowl. Every team would like to have a good batsman in their squad. If he can bowl a few overs, it will definitely help.”

Dravid said that the 26-year-old Saurashtra batsman has a role to play for India in ODIs. ”When I see him bat in Test matches, the way he rotates the strike, the way the kind of shots he hits, he has got shots all round the wicket. Batting in ODIs is not only about hitting sixes, right? He scores runs pretty quickly, he scores runs at a pretty decent click even in Test cricket. I have no doubt that he can do well (in ODIs). Obviously, he is fighting in a cramped middle order at the moment. That is the challenge for him.”

“There are tours of England and Australia coming up and someone like him will get a little more playing time and get the opportunity to prove himself and do well.”

Vengsarkar minced no words about how important Pujara is. “Pujara can bat at No. 3 and play a long innings. In 50 overs matches, you need somebody who can stick around and play most of the overs. At the moment, the Indian team is full of attacking players, and we want somebody who can stay in the wicket. We want Pujara there,” he said.

(G Krishnan qualified as an umpire from Tamil Nadu Cricket Association in 1997 before making sports journalism as a career. His other interests include wildlife and reading. Krishnan is Principal Correspondent of DNA, where the article first appeared)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui


West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 10, 2014  at Dubai

Australia won by 5 wkts


India vs West Indies 4th ODI at Dharamsala


AB de Villiers speaks ahead of New Zealand ODIs

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: 5 memorable matches

Yasir Shah: The new spinning sensation for Pakistan

Virat Kohli takes wicket with the first (0th?) ball of his T20I career

Kevin Pietersen’s autobiography — a litany of complaints with a few redeeming patches

Banning West Indian players in IPL can affect the ‘Brand value’ of the event – Will BCCI take this gamble?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 BCCI India India vs West Indies India vs West Indies 2014 New Zealand Pakistan Salaam Cricket South Africa West Indies West Indies cancel India tour 2014 West Indies tour of India 2014 West Indies vs India West Indies vs India 2014

Live Cricket Score: New Zealand vs South Africa, 1st ODI at Mount Maunganui

Live Scorecard: New Zealand vs South Africa, 1st ODI at Mount Maunganui

Kevin Pietersen is probably the best cricketer I have played with: Eoin Morgan

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: SLC defend decision to tour

Jesse Ryder’s New Zealand comeback possible: Mike Hesson

James Neesham can provide more impetus to New Zealand’s weakened batting up the order

Virender Sehwag turns 36: Five most memorable innings of the Nawab of Najafgarh

New Zealand begin ICC World Cup 2015 preparations with 15 ODIs in store

Virender Sehwag paid birthday tribute to by Sophos Antivirus

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: 5 memorable matches

Fan of the Day

Gautam Singh

Gautam Singh

474 Posts | 5 Fans

Video Highlights Mohammed Yousuf drops catch after watching a girl in bikini

Live Cricket Score New Zealand vs South Africa 1st ODI at Mount Maunganui

सेक्स टिप # 13: महिलाओं में कामेच्छा (low libido) की समस्या

Bigg Boss 8 highlights: RJ Pritam solves inmates problems while Ali Quli Mirza creates more on Day 29!

‘Time to Deliver Begins Now,’ RBI Governor Tells Indian-Americans

आपकी दिवाली खुशनुमा, सुरक्षित और शुभ हो

Sri Sri’s three-day visit to Chicago from October 23

Movies to watch this week: Happy New Year!

iOS 8.1 update now available bringing Camera Roll, SMS Relay, iCloud Photo library among others

International programme in Animal Husbandry

IBM to pay $1.5 billion to GlobalFoundries to buy its chip division

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here