My Open Letter to Cheteshwar Pujara
My Open Letter to Cheteshwar Pujara3 mins 232 3 mins 232
Dear Che Puj,
There was a moment in the final test in Australia when a beautiful fuzzy butterfly flew in the middle of the pitch, fluttering its wings innocently, unaware of the brutal violence that was taking place at the place it had landed. Pujara stopped everything and, for a moment, looked transfixed at its beauty before pulling it away to safety and then took guard. Ready to take the missiles cruising into his body, like it were a few droplets of water crashing into him. Like a monk, opening his eyes after years of penance and then relapsing immediately into another. This ability to stop deliveries that have pain, anguish, even defeat written on them with a straight bat back on the ground, as a non-scoring option, in the form of a lifeless dot ball is what sets him apart in this day and age.It's an age where a dot ball is thought and "taught" to be the greatest sin, regressive even, for it's too defensive, too primitive. Only being aggressive is the way to counter any situation, is it not the motto that has been propagated from the rooftops?? A backward step is no longer an option, as it makes one look meek and weak. Does it not??
But for Pujara, it's different, as he's of a different make. He still lives and breathes according to the now shunned mantra of defense being the most potent offense. Yes, Cummins and Hazelwood got him in a pickle many times, but to do so, they had to reach from the depths of labor within, almost tearing their backs open, to bring out the fireball that consumed him. Pujara has just one trick up his sleeve -The famous "rope-a-dope" trick that the great Ali originally used; of pretending to be trapped on the ropes while goading opponents to land tiring ineffective punches until the air in their lungs are sucked dry, eventually falling lifeless.
So every time Pujara looked ugly when he got hit on the face, the temple, the lung, the bicep, or every goddamn part of the body, he instead was growing in strength, with his eyes getting wider, sharpening his claws to deliver the final knockout punch. It was breathtaking to watch an old-age art form revived and used with such efficacy that it blunted everything thrown at him.
Though the world is calling you the modern wall, I beg to disagree. Because you aren't a clone, a rip-off, a cheap replica but an original masterpiece. You are a fortification. One that holds the fort and ensures nothing comes through, even though you were to face an entire barrage of missiles by yourself for the sake of others. My only wish is for you to stay this way. Because being one-dimensional, being ugly, being slow, and being a tortoise in the race for hares is still beautiful and bloody effective. Happy Bday.
-A fan for life.