Harsh Bhogle, once in his trademark cheeky manner, explained Cheteshwar Pujara’s excellence in the longest format of the game and how he looks completely out of place in the T20 format, by quoting, ‘Pujara is a classical musician in the era of Yo Yo Honey Singh.’
If there’s any perfect disciple of the Rahul Dravid’s school of batting sessions out, fighting bowlers through tough defences, it has to be Saurashtra’s pride, Cheteshwar Pujara.
In the latest episode of Cricbuzz’s brand new Web series, Spicy Pitch, the Indian number three in Tests, conversed about his and his father’s noble initiative about their unique cricket academy which has no name.
The Reenaben Arvindbhai Sports Complex, Rajkot is home to many aspiring cricketers of the future, with the dream of representing the country, much like Pujara had during his childhood years.
However, these aspiring are fortunate enough to have ample infrastructure at their disposal for training and fitness under the able guidance of Pujara, who frequently visits them for supervision.
“When I started playing cricket, I had limited facilities. So my father thought that the younger lot should never struggle to get enough practice. At least they should have enough infrastructure then it’s up to them, obviously, how hard they work and how motivated they are to make it to the next level,” Pujara stated while talking about his academy.
During the long conversation, Pujara, along with his father, talked about various struggles he had to face as a budding cricketer.
Later, the 32-year old revealed about the stretches of efforts put in by his father to build the academy from scratch, so that young cricketers do not face the same struggles.
“To be honest, it is a tough job because I remember when my father started building this ground, it was barren land and we had to put hundreds of trucks of black soil in this to make it even and then to prepare this. My father had knowledge of how to prepare a turf pitch,” added Pujara.
Interestingly, in a day and age of ostentatious marketing and brand building, Pujara’s academy does not even have a name for it to grow popular, and that is for another noble reason.
“This is for a noble cause and we don’t want to market this, we don’t want this academy to be really popular. Because the aim is to build good cricketers and for that, we don’t need any marketing,” the Rajkot-born cricketer continued.
Primarily, the reason for this initiative is to concentrate on a few cricketers, focusing on quality, rather than quantity.
“The basic idea is the players should come here and focus on the game. So, if we have a bigger name or if we market it well then there will be a lot of players who would want to be a part of this. But we want to keep the number limited. The reason is that we want to focus on quality. If we look at only 35-50 players, we know that we can focus on them. But if we have 100 children here practicing, we are not doing justice to all of them,” concluded Pujara.