Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Cheteshwar Pujara proves T20 mettle with back-to-back fifties

Pujara has neither played for India's T20 side nor made an impact in the Indian Premier League.

Updated: Jan 04, 2016, 16:57 PM IST
Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Cheteshwar Pujara proves T20 mettle with back-to-back fifties

New Delhi: Cheteshwar Pujara is considered as the batsman best suited to Test cricket among India's current crop of youngsters.

Post the retirement of Rahul Dravid, he was first in line to occupy the vacant position at number three.

After enduring a tough phase on tours to England and Australia, the right-hander appears to have sealed his spot in the side with an unbeaten 145-run knock on a difficult batting surface in Colombo.

He gave a good account of himself on bowler-friendly pitches in the series against South Africa as well. His 77-run innings on a rank turner at Mohali was one of the highlights of the series.

Despite boasting of a solid technique and repertoire of wide-ranging shots, the 27-year-old hasn't been able to make a mark in the ODI and T20 formats.

He has played just five ODIs for India – two against Zimbabwe and three against Bangladesh.

Pujara has neither played for India's T20 side nor made an impact in the Indian Premier League.

However, all that could be a thing of the past if the Saurashtra batsman continues his current form in domestic cricket.

In the Vijay Hazare Trophy (ODI tournament), Pujara scored 169 (Madhya Pradesh: 5, Himachal Pradesh: 73, Uttar Pradesh: 41, Bengal: 50*) runs in four outings.

He then followed it up with two more quick-fire knocks in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, a T20 tournament.

In the opening Group B game against Tripura, Pujara scored 67 off 57 balls at a strike rate of 117.54. His innings included 7 fours and a six.

In the second match, Pujara was on the attack once against, scoring 81 off 55 balls at an astonishing strike rate of 147.27. He hit five fours and equal number of sixes.

Saurashtra are unbeaten at the moment in the tournament. More importantly for Pujara, he has sent a timely reminder to selectors ahead of the T20 World Cup on home soil.

If more such performances follow, it will be hard to ignore him going forward.