Cheteshwar Pujara, who went unsold in the IPL auction, recently made his return to the Indian squad after scoring a couple of double tons and two hundreds – 170*, 203, 109, 201* – in seven inning games at an average of 143 for Sussex County Cricket Club.
In Sussex, he was joined by Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan who was plying his trade for the first time in English County cricket. Both shared a wonderful rapport and it came to the fore on Tuesday, when the Indian batter wished the Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter a happy birthday.
In a post that has since gone viral, Pujara wrote, “Happy birthday @iMRizwanPak! Have a fabulous year ahead.”
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The two shared a great camaraderie while sharing a dressing room inwith Rizwan recently saying, “He is a very nice person and his concentration and focus are unreal … In my life, the player with the highest levels of concentration and focus I have seen is Younis bhai. So No. 1 is Younis bhai. After that, it was Fawad Alam but now Pujara is No. 2 and Fawad Alam No. 3.”
Happy birthday! Have a fabulous year ahead.
— cheteshwar pujara (@cheteshwar1)
“…in terms of the focus and concentration levels, there is a time when that starts dropping low … I will try to figure out how these three players have so intense focus and concentration. I keep on talking with Younis bhai, I couldn’t talk much with Fawad recently on this.
“And with Pujara, I had a chat with him after I got out early. He told me a few things and one of them was to play close to the body. And as everyone knows, we have been playing white-ball cricket consistently over the past few years and play a bit away from our body.” Rizwan had said, “in white-ball, you don’t play very close to your body since the ball doesn’t swing or seam as much.” “So early on here, I played away from my body and got out twice in a similar way,” Rizwan had added.
Both players made their Sussex debut for the game against hosts Derbyshire in the County Championships Division 2 back in April.