Amidst the buzz and excitement of the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL) season, Indian cricketer Cheteshwar Pujara has been quietly preparing for the World Test Championship (WTC) final next month. The captain of Sussex in the County Championship Division Two, Pujara has been in sensational form, scoring consecutive centuries and sending a strong message to India's opponent in the WTC final, Australia.
Remarkable form continues
Pujara's remarkable run of form began last month, when he scored 115 in the opening innings against Durham on April 6. He followed this up with an outstanding knock of 151 against Gloucestershire on April 27, before scoring 136 off 189 against Worcestershire on Friday, hitting 19 boundaries and a six along the way.
This latest century also saw Pujara achieve a remarkable record in first-class cricket. He became only the sixth Indian batter to accumulate 19000 runs in this format, joining the ranks of legendary cricketers such as Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, and Wasim Jaffer.
In addition, Pujara's century helped him equal the feat of Vijay Hazare in scoring 60 first-class centuries, putting them both third in the all-time list for India. Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar are at the top of the chart with 81 centuries each, followed by Rahul Dravid's tally of 68.
During the match, Pujara also formed a notable partnership with Steve Smith, whom he will be facing off against in the WTC summit clash. The two batsmen put on 61 runs for the fourth wicket, with Smith scoring 30 off 57 balls before being dismissed by Josh Tongue, who also took the wicket of Pujara in the same innings.
Speaking ahead of the match, Pujara had admitted that it would mixed feelings when asked about sharing the dressing room with Smith. He had said: “We will be playing the WTC final, so it will be mixed feelings. On the field we always have good battles, but off the field we are good friends.”
Pujara will be seen in action in the WTC final on June 7 where India will be up against Australia at The Oval.
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