Cheteshwar Pujara realises father’s dream, opens-up cricket academy for the underprivileged

The mainstay of India’s Test batting, Cheteshwar Pujara is a classical batsman in Rahul Dravid’s mould; not just on the field, beyond it as well. Dravid is known to be one of the finest ambassadors of the gentleman’s game, and now walking in his footsteps is Pujara, who has done a remarkable work which will go a long way in the development of Indian cricket. Also read: Photo: Cheteshwar Pujara hosts Team India for dinner

His father Arvind, who is a former Ranji player, once shared with him that they must have a large ground where young, budding cricketers can come and practice free of cost. Realising his dream, Cheteshwar has set-up a cricket academy on six-acres of land area on the outskirts of Rajkot. The academy has a gymnasium, a battery-run bowling machine, a well crafted turf, six practice pitches and an under construction rest room.

“I faced lots of difficulties as a young cricketer, didn’t get the right infrastructure, so I wanted these kids who cannot afford it to have a right platform to turn into good cricketers,” Cheteshwar said during a chat with NDTV. Around 30-odd young boys, most of whom cannot afford expensive coaching, are already undergoing training at the academy, which is about 5 km away from the Saurashtra cricket association (SCA) stadium. Also read: Cheteshwar Pujara: 10 interesting facts about the Indian batsman

The father-son duo has also taken care of transportation for the kids, as the academy provides free conveyance for the children to the venue which is about 16 kms away from the city. “I want to scout for more talent from across the state, identify 30-odd talented kids who cannot afford good coaching expensive kits, split them into two groups – one below 15 and another above 15, and then provided them all the necessary facilities here,” said Arvind Pujara.