As Cheteshwar Pujara made his way to a brilliant 159 on the second day of the first Test against New Zealand, a majority of his fans were already looking to the future. But there were quite a few fans of the sport who were looking at the past and a certain gentleman named Rahul Dravid.
Is that right? Is it right to weigh down a young player with such expectations and what could be the result of something like this? Senior sports writer Ayaz Memon tells us how disastrous such comparisons can be.
“The tendency now is to get into immediate comparisons with stalwarts of the past or great batsmen like Rahul Dravid. Dravid is what he is after putting in 15-16 years and his body of work is great. I think it’s unfair to compare players to Dravid or Tendulkar or Laxman or anyone,” said Ayaz Memon. “There is a possibility of him becoming a great player on his own and that’s what you want. You don’t want him to become a clone of Dravid.”
In Australia, the biggest curse was being called the next Bradman. Doug Walters, Peter Coohey, Ian Craig — but how can you have another Bradman?
“I think such comparisons can kill the individuality of players. But thankfully Pujara seems to be pretty well grounded — so in that sense, he is free of this. He has come up through the ranks and scored big centuries at every level. That should help him. I think he is a bit of a realist,” Ayaz added.
“If he wants to learn from Dravid, then learn the way he dealt with his life and fame, not how he dealt with his batting necessarily. How he copes with the pressure is going to be the story of Cheteshwar Pujara henceforth,” he said.
Watch the entire conversation between Ayaz Memon and Ashish Magotra in the video above.