Indian Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar has termed Cheteshwar Pujara as a "silent warrior" for the way he played throughout the home season as he kept on grafting long innings in a team full of stroke makers.
During a chat with reported, Tendulkar said, "Pujara has been a silent warrior, terrific temperament, and somebody again who (is) dedicated, disciplined and focused. I have seen him from close quarters and I was impressed with what I saw, I knew that this guy is there for a long time.”
Pujara's double century in the Ranchi Test against Australia was the longest innings by an Indian in Tests. While in Bengaluru, his innings of 92 in the second innings played a crucial role in India's win.
Tendulkar also hailed praises for pacer Umesh Yadav for bowling brilliantly through a long home season. He said, "The way guys have shown discipline and commitment, 13 Test matches in a row, I don't remember anything like that happening during our periods and someone like Umesh (Yadav) have played 12 of them, so for a fast bowler it is really taxing, that shows that you are going to work on your body.”
He further added, "Umesh is a kind of a bowler who keeps getting better with time, the more he bowls the better he gets. And you could see that, the last innings of the season that he bowled was possibly the best spell.”
Umesh bagged 17 wickets in four Tests against Australia, praising him further Sachin said, "I think somebody who bowls good reverse swing will always be effective in India. (The) surfaces, texture, there is the reverse swing and it happened in Dharamshala as well. Umesh bowled a couple of damn good reverse swingers."
Tendulkar also talked the lower order contributions of Indian players as he felt played a key role in the team's successful home season as the hosts registered 10 wins in their 13 Tests long home season against the teams like New Zealand, England and Australia and a one-off Test against Bangladesh.
Talking about the same, Tendulkar said, "The season has been tremendous for our team. There have been challenging moments when I felt our number 7, 8, 9 contributed big time. Those were critical moments where the Test match could have gone either way, but you have taken away the match (from the opposition).”
The batting maestro further asserted, "When any team which has that kind of strength when bowlers can go out and scores those critical runs for you, a keeper can score hundred for you, you become a solid side. So, obviously, first six batters and 7,8,9 can also contribute.”
The veteran of 200 Tests added, “People like Wriddhiman Saha contributed handsomely, scoring three centuries during the season, and Tendulkar described the wicketkeeper's feat as "incredible”. These guys have really played well at crunch moments, which can decide the Test match and sometimes a series. I felt that was the difference and you can see it. When both teams are going neck to neck and then suddenly one team starts pulling away, you can see the difference and that's what has happened.”
Sachin also talked about the depth in the current squad, he concluded, "When we have a full strength side, it's a good problem to have. And that means your bench strength is also very strong and that is how champion teams are made. Everyone is watching us, the way we have played and to maintain and stay at this level is something that I am sure everyone is wanting to do and the rest of us are looking forward to (it). I have got a lot of faith and confidence in our team.”