New Delhi: The second Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test between India and Australia at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, starting from Friday, will see top-order batter Cheteshwar Pujara become the 13th Indian cricketer to complete a century of appearances in the format.
Ahead of the landmark occasion for Pujara, Indian head coach Rahul Dravid hailed the right-handed batter for being on the verge of completing a hundred Test appearances, saying the achievement is a reflection of his longevity.
"It is a very huge achievement for a cricketer as when you reach a milestone like this one, you do need the talent to reach to this level and play this much of cricket. Talent is definitely needed, but apart from that, there are a lot of things as playing 100 Test matches is a reflection of your longevity. It involves a lot of things like fitness, resilience, ability to handle success, as in this journey of playing a hundred Test matches, it cannot be like you have not seen ups and downs," he said in the press conference on Wednesday.
Since his Test debut in October, 2010, which came in the second Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test against Australia at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, Pujara has emerged to be a mainstay in India's batting order in the longest format of the game. As of now, Pujara has played 99 Tests, amassing 7,021 runs while averaging 44.15, including 19 centuries and 34 half-centuries.
"One has to go past the ups and downs and bear with it. One has to play bowling attacks of different kinds and various questions are asked of you, on and off the field. Playing a hundred Test matches takes a minimum of ten years, and what Pujara has done in the last 13-14 years to achieve this, it is a huge thing. It's a tribute to his skill without any doubt, but tribute to so many things previously mentioned," added Dravid, himself a member of the 100 Tests club from India.
Pujara is also the only Indian batter to face 500 deliveries in a Test innings, which again came against Australia in the third Border-Gavaskar Trophy match in March 2017 at Ranchi where he scored 202 off 525 balls. In that innings, he surpassed the record of Dravid, who had made 270 off 495 balls against Pakistan at Rawalpindi in 2004.
"He's a very popular player in the team, so there is huge happiness in the team that he's got a chance to play a hundred Test matches. I hope that he does well, not only in this Test match, but also in future matches, just in the way he's been doing for India. If you see the last ten years, Cheteshwar Pujara has played very critical and decisive knocks for the country which have led the side to victory in various series."
"So, he's been a very important player in the team for the last 13-14 years, and is a very popular member too. So, everyone is very happy that we are there with him to celebrate this moment," added Dravid.