Cheteshwar Pujara was earmarked as the successor to Rahul Dravid when the India batsman announced his retirement from international cricket in 2012. Pujara had many of Dravid’s traits, which included calmness, tight technique, solid defence and the ability to bat at No.3 for the Indian cricket team in Test cricket. During the Adelaide game against Australia, Pujara cemented his reputation as the Wall of the Indian cricket team when he scored a century on the opening day of the series to give India something to smile. Following his knock, Pujara reached the milestone of 5000 runs but it also created several remarkable coincidences with Dravid’s record.
Pujara achieved the 5000-run milestone in his 108th innings, the same number it took for Dravid to reach the landmark. The coincidences of records goes even further. When Pujara reached 3000 runs, he achieved it in 67 innings, the same as Dravid. When the Saurashtra right-hander went past 4000 runs in Tests, he took 84 innings to achieve it. Remarkably, Dravid took the same amount of time.
The coincidences do not end there. Pujara’s 123 was his first hundred in Australia and 16th overall. Dravid, during the 2003 Adelaide Test, smashed 233, which was his 16th Test century and also his first in Australia. In a twisted way, even getting to the milestone was same. Dravid hooked Jason Gillespie to fine leg for a six to reach his hundred while Pujara hooked Hazlewood over fine leg to go past 5000 runs.
Speaking in the press conference at the end of the day, Pujara said this was the most important knock of his life. “I can't rate if it was one of the best but the teammates were appreciating, they were saying it was one of the best,” Pujara said.
With so many milestones achieved in a similar way, it can be safely surmised that Pujara is the new Dravid in Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team.