Ashwin calls him ‘white walker of Indian cricket’, Virat Kohli cherry-picks his best innings, Dravid-Rohit hit nostalgia lane: Tributes paid to Cheteshwar Pujara ahead of 100th Test

On Friday, Cheteshwar Pujara will become only the 13th Indian player ever to play 100 Test matches. The 35-year-old, who made his Test debut in 2010 against (guess what) Australia, has scored 7021 runs across 99 matches for India in the longest format of the game and has established a repertoire as one of the all time greats in Tests.

Ahead of his 100th Test, the his teammates as India head coach Rahul Dravid showered praise on the number three batter. India all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin referenced Game of Thrones while referring to his India teammate.

“Congratulations to the ‘White Walker’ of Indian cricket. He has just been walking there at the same pace, defending bowlers out. Phenomenal achievement. I am not sure how many of the next generation of players will go on to play 100 Tests, it is a massive achievement,” Ashwin said on

He further added, “Everybody remembers the knocks in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy but the two knocks that stand out for me are the one at Wanderers, where he got his first run after the 50th ball. Over a period of time I have seen a lot of people talk about the pace at which he scores but very rarely have we given him credit for hundreds that batters coming later in the order score because blunts the attacks. That is one of those occassions. There have been several occassions where he has made 19, 20 or some fifties and has made the job of batters coming later easier.”

India head coach Rahul Dravid, whose gritty playing style has been reflective in Pujara’s Test career as well with the latter being termed as his successor, recalled the first time he watched Pujara bat.

“Puji the first time that I had seen you or played against you was in a Ranji Trophy game where you scored runs and beat Karnataka. That’s become a recurring theme I think. It has been a pleasure to watch you evolve over the last 10 years. Everyone speaks about your hard work, determination and courage. To be able to play for this long requires a lot of stubbornness, single-minded determination. You have gone through that journey with a smile, always putting the team first. I think that is something you can be very proud of you. All the best, I hope you enjoy the five days,” Dravid said.

India captain Rohit Sharma also felt a nostalgia rush as he recalled watching the Saurashtra batter from his U19 playing days.

“I have watched you from close quarters right from our U19 days. A lot of fun playing with you and now it is going to be a different challenge for you from here on. You will have to push your body a little bit but you have the mind and courage to do it,” he said.

“It is a big achievement, not many people achieve what you have for your country. Big congratulations on that. It has taken a lot I know from you, from your body, to get here but you’ve done really well. We are very proud of you. Like it is the case for any sportsperson, there have been a lot of ups and downs but you have managed to come through which is a good thing,” Rohit added.

Among the many Cheteshwar Pujara specials for India in whites, former India captain Virat Kohli cherry picked one as his particular favorite.

“My favourite knock will always be the hundred you got in Southampton in 2018. All the other batters had gotten out, you stuck in there and got 120 or 130 odd runs. The way you played will always stay in my memory. Among all your great knocks that is the top of the pile. Hopefully in your 100th Test you get a big one for us,” Kohli said, also congratulating Pujara on another hundred.

“This is a very special day for a very special guy. Puji congratulations on your 100th Test. You have had a long journey, full of hard work, persistence, grit, comebacks. That is what you are known for. I wish you all the best, enjoy the moment. It is a big occasion not just for you but for your family, the people who have supported you throughout the journey. It is a big achievement to have played for India for so long,” he added.

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