Cheteshwar Pujara struck an unbeaten 201 on his Sussex debut to force a draw against Derbyshire at the County Championship 2022. Along with Tom Haines, Pujara added 351 runs for the third wicket as Sussex finished on 513/3.
Cheteshwar Pujara is only the second Indian batter to register a double century in County, after Mohammad Azharuddin, who did it twice while playing for Derbyshire.
Pujara was chosen as the replacement for Travis Head who declared himself unavailable due to international commitments.
‘Once I was here and got out in the first innings, I was so disappointed. But I knew that I was batting well and wanted a big one. So, if it’s your first game and you get a double hundred, it sets you up for the rest of the season,” Pujara remarked in an interview on Sussex’s Youtube channel.
Here we look at five memorable performances from Indian cricketers in the County arena.
In 1992, a 19-year-old Sachin Tendulkar became the first overseas-born cricketer to represent Yorkshire. He was roped in as a replacement for the injured Craig McDermott. On August 2nd, 1992, Yorkshire was asked to chase 265 by Lancashire. Tendulkar slammed a 69-ball century to bring Yorkshire inches within the target.
It’s not often you see a spinner wreaking havoc in County Championship. In 2021, just ahead of the Test series between India and England, R Ashwin had a short stint with Surrey. Against Somerset, he became the first spinner to open the bowling in over a decade, and claimed six wickets to skittle them out for a paltry 69.
In 1995, Anil Kumble took 105 wickets at an astounding average of 20.40. His nine-wicket haul against Nottinghamshire was the highlight of the season, as Northamptonshire won the match by an innings despite conceding 527 runs in the first innings. Kumble followed his four-for with a five-wicket haul in the second innings.
In 2000, Rahul Dravid had a fruitful stint with Kent, where he finished as the leading run-getter. Against Hampshire, Dravid masterfully negated the threats of Shane Warne to punch his way to a brilliant century. Asked to chase 205, Dravid responded with an unbeaten 73 in the second innings to guide Kent to a thrilling win.
The summer of 2006 was when Zaheer Khan, who was still struggling to cement his place in the Indian side, decided to sign up for Worcestershire. It proved to be a turning point for the pacer; he soon stormed into the national team, on the back off his incredible stint with Worcestershire. He finished with 78 wickets in 16 matches. Against Essex, he came agonizingly close of taking all 10 in an innings, but a regulation catch was spilled by Steven Davies.