Saturday, 23 August 2014

Pujara signs in interesting county move

So the news that I picked up earlier on Cheteshwar Pujara turned out to be accurate. The Indian batsman has signed for the remainder of the championship campaign in a deal that ticks all the boxes as far as I am concerned.

There's little to dislike in a player whose first-class average is a shade under sixty. Granted, most of that experience has come in his own country, but it's still highly impressive. He will have a maximum of  eight first-class innings (which will make him long-serving compared to Chris Harris...) and should create a massive interest among the local ethnic community.

It is good to see the bonds built earlier in the season, for the visit of the Indian tourists, bearing fruit, though whether this was ever on the agenda at that stage is unlikely. I doubt that many anticipated the Indian batsmen struggling so badly with English conditions and it is to Pujara's great credit that he is the one player who is keen to do something about it.

Of course, he is not high on the IPL list and his future is very much planned around the Test itinerary, this despite a List A average of 53 and a highest score of 158. I wouldn't mind having a 'weak' one-day player like that in our side on a regular basis...

What  happens in the longer term is anyone's guess. It would be exciting, but perhaps fanciful, to imagine Pujara playing a longer spell with the county, but it is good to see us building bridges and  being a first pick for a world-class player ahead of other counties.

Supporters will undoubtedly enjoy Pujara. He is a classical batsman with a strong bottom hand, more Dravid than Sehwag, with an appetite for runs that we would all love to see sated at the County Ground in the coming weeks.

Full marks to Graeme Welch and Chris Grant, together with Simon Storey for making this happen.

The closing weeks of the season should be well worth a watch and both player and club should benefit from the association.

1 comment:

Sam said...

A bit out of nowhere given the clubs stance on giving young players a chance and the league position, but it should give a good buzz around the ground towards the end of the season if he can score some runs. Given that he's a nailed on number 3 in test cricket, I wonder where he'll bat. If he wants to improve in English conditions perhaps he could open the batting and allow billy godleman to move down into the middle order?