Support Cheteshwar Pujara through thick and thin, Nick Compton urges India
Cheteshwar Pujara’s unbeaten 132 was his 15th Test hundred, second outside of Asia and first in England. @Getty

Cheteshwar Pujara’s gritty century on day two of the fourth Test between India and England at Southampton has prompted former England batsman Nick Compton to wonder whether the grafter’s role is near extinction.

While lauding Pujara’s unbeaten 132 that helped India move from the loss of five wickets for 34 runs to 246, a slender lead of 21 over England, Compton urged the Indian team management to support Pujara for the remainder of his Test career.

“The aim of a Test nation is to be consistent in all conditions, all surfaces, all countries. Those are the best teams. Someone like Pujara is going to give you more good days than bad days, without doubt. You need him playing well and you need to back him through the good times and the bad,” Compton told ESPNcricinfo on Saturday.

“How many Pujaras are around now? The likes of Alastair Cook? They seem to be a dying breed. That type of player isn’t someone that people are looking for. They keep wanting to find the next Ben Stokes or Joe Root; don’t get me wrong, we’d all like to play like them, but you can’t have 11 Joe Roots and Ben Stokes. When its good its very good, but when its bad its bad.”

Compton, who played 16 Tests for England between 2012 and 2016, scoring two centuries and two fifties, was critical of how Pujara was viewed in today’s era of big bats and fast scoring. His comments come days after former South Africa skipper Graeme Smith questioned the mental attitude  of today’s Test batsman.

“KL Rahul is averaging something around 16, and if someone like Cheteshwar Pujara were averaging 16 he wouldn’t even be in the team,” said Compton. “Its very strange when he look at what types of quality we’re trying to identify these days. People want to see boundaries, big shouts, fours and players than can get on with it, but the game of Test cricket hasn’t changed. Its five days long, it requires discipline and patience … and those qualities are going out of the game.”

Pujara’s unbeaten 132 was his 15th Test hundred, second outside of Asia and first in England. India trail the five-match series 1-2.