Cheteshwar Pujara's biggest test awaits him in South Africa

Touted by many as an ideal replacement for Rahul Dravid, a successful tour of South Africa may just cement that claim for Test run-machine Cheteshwar Pujara.

updated: December 01, 2013 02:01 IST
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It was baptism by fire for rookie Cheteshwar Pujara when he toured South Africa in 2010 in his first and only series away from home till date. Drafted into the side after a brilliant match-winning 72 against Australia in his debut Test at Bangalore, Pujara was expected to lend support to arguably one of world's best middle-order line up, comprising Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman.

The blue-eyed boy of Indian cricket that time, with his entire career ahead of him, suffered at the hands of a fiery Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. Three full years later, sans any of the above-mentioned stalwarts, Pujara heads into the Test series in South Africa as the most established Test batsman in the Indian top-6.

Much has changed in these three years. Pujara has fought a career-threatening knee injury, which forced him out of the humiliating away series debacles in England and Australia. He has seen the one-day team lift the World Cup and has showed enough class in his five-day abilities to be compared with the erstwhile 'Wall' of Indian cricket - Dravid. His impression as a Test mainstay got further repute when a US website listed him among the top-10 investment options in sports in the world.

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