The legendary Sunil Gavasakar on Friday hoped Cheteshwar Pujara would become the first Indian to score a century in his 100th Test, adding that the veteran batter has been a role model for “hard work and self-belief”.
Pujara became the 13th Indian to reach the 100-Test milestone when he took the field in the second Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia here.
Flanked by his family and team-mates, Pujara, the Indian batting mainstay in the longest format of the game, received a special cap from Gavaskar to honour his achievements.
“Welcome to the 100th Test club, and I wish and pray you that you become the first Indian to score a big hundred in your 100th Test and lay the foundation for yet another win in Delhi,” said Gavaskar who featured in 125 Tests.
The former India skipper lauded Pujara for putting his “body on the line for India.” “When you go out to bat, it’s as if you’re taking the India flag with you. You’ve put your body on the line for India.
“You’ve taken the blows, you got up, and you made bowlers earn your wicket. Every single run you scored is a big plus for India. You’ve been a role model for what hard work, self-belief, and dreams can do.”
The 35-year-old Pujara, who made his Test debut in 2010, has 7,000-plus runs in the format and 19 centuries.
“Legends like you have inspired me. As a young cricketer, I always dreamt of playing for India, but I never thought I’d be playing 100 Test matches for India,” Pujara said.
“I believe Test cricket is the ultimate form of the game and it tests your temperament; there are so many similarities between life and Test cricket.
“If you can fight through the tough periods, you always come out on top. I feel really proud and to all the youngsters out there, I encourage you to work hard and strive to play for India.
“Thanks to my family and friends for their support. Thanks to the BCCI, media, and my team-mates and support staff.”