Posts Tagged ‘cheteshwar pujara’

Kings XI Punjab
Punjab have been relatively quiet in the transfer market, having added only Jerome Taylor, Ravi Bopara, and the previously obscure Burt Cockley. Sarwan has departed – having apparently only been on a one-year contract – and a number of key players will only play part of the season (Shaun Marsh, Brett Lee and James Hopes are all likely to be called away by Australia).

As with last season, much will rest on the shoulders of Yuvraj, who will be expected to provide batting pyrotechnics every time he plays. If he can find form whilst the Australians are unavailable, and Marsh can continue his impressive form from last year, then the Kings XI are capable of mounting a strong challenge.

Kolkata Knight Riders
The KKRs build-up has been dominated by talk of multiple or rotating captains, but the unusual situation has partly arisen out of the fact that the side has so many top-class players at its disposal. Chris Gayle is made for Twenty20 cricket, as is Brendon McCullum (who should be available for the whole season). David Hussey, Ricky Ponting and Ajantha Mendis will probably only play cameo roles, but home-grown talents such as Cheteshwar Pujara will be available throughout.

Sole auction signing Mashrafe Mortaza probably won’t alter the balance of the side much, but Umar Gul’s bowling will be missed, putting a lot of pressure on Ishant Sharma.

Mumbai Indians
A disappointing start last time around saw Mumbai fail to make the play-offs, and the Sreesanth slapping incident stirred controversy. He’s out with an injury, so discipline may be less of an issue in 2009. Dwayne Bravo’s recent form has been impressive, suggesting that he will be a key player with both bat and ball, and the additions of JP Duminy and Graham Napier should boost the batting.

Zaheer Khan has also come in for Robin Uthappa, whilst a number of the overseas players can offer something with both bat and ball, leaving the side well-balanced in the middle order. Harbhajan has so far failed to impress in Twenty20 cricket, but is likely to feature throughout.

Rajasthan Royals
Rajasthan confounded a lot of people’s expectations with their victory last season, but key player Shane Watson could miss much of the 2009 season due to international call-ups. Tyron Henderson comes in as cover, but the lack of big-name players (Graeme Smith’s recovery from injury may also prove more costly for the Royals now that they have lost the element of surprise.

Rajasthan, of course, are nominally my team, so all the best to them.

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Petition for Pujara

There’s been a sort of minor rebellion across the ‘blogosphere’ about the exclusion of Cheteshwar Pujara from India’s Test squad. After his fantastic recent form, there was a case for his inclusion, but he’s got plenty of time to establish himself before he can lay claim to a place in the team (or the pressure of filling anyone else’s shoes) .

That’s not enough for some of Pujara’s most vociferous supporters: there’s even a petition to get Pujara into the side.

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Cheteshwar Pujara

Before the cancellation of England’s remaining ODIs in India and the subsequent doubt cast on the Test series, my attention was drawn to an emerging Indian batsman who some have been tipping for a spot in the home side’s Test squad: Cheteshwar Pujara.

The young right-hander (he will turn 21 in January) has been in scintillating form of late, scoring two triple centuries in an under-22 tournament, and another in the Ranji Trophy which was part of the highest ever first-class 5th wicket partnership.

It seems Pujara is another one for followers of cricket outside India to keep an eye out for. Those who follow cricket in that country already seem well appraised of his talents.

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