In recent times, India has been successful as a Test team and have held the No. 1 position in ICC Test rankings since October 2016. If you start evaluating the success of this team, two names pop up immediately, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli. India's no. 3 and no. 4 have been solid in the middle order scoring loads of runs and contributing significantly for the side.
But, at times the comparison between these two modern greats emerge and it happened once again after Pujara scored his 50th first-class century and joined an elite list which has great players such as Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and many others. When the 31-year old was asked if Virat Kohli would be able to break his record, the response by Pujara shows exactly how he feels about the comparison.
In an interview with ESPNcricinfo, the Saurashtra batsman said, ” Virat hasn't played as many first-class matches as I have, so it is unfair to compare our records. He (Kohli) has accomplished at the highest level and in all formats of the game, which is always higher than the first-class level. I mean if he has scored many centuries at the international level, it is always a proud moment.
You can’t compare first-class records with ODI centuries or even Test match centuries – (taking that into account) he is way ahead when you compare with other players,”
Pujara is currently playing the Ranji Trophy for Saurashtra in an attempt to prepare for the Test series against New Zealand in February. In the group match against Karnataka in Rajkot, Pujara notched up his 50th first-class century and went on to score 248 from 390 balls.
We can safely assume that the no.3 batsman is in form going into the important series. Last season, Pujara played a huge role in India's first Test series win in Australia, where he scored 521 runs from seven innings with three centuries.
Considering his overseas record, he could be instrumental for the team, if India wants to continue being on top and unbeaten in the ICC Test Championship 2019-21. The two-match Test against New Zealand will begin on February 21.