Author: Abhishek Rajan
Cheteshwar Pujara completed his 50th first class century, playing for Saurashtra in the ongoing Ranji Trophy game against Karnataka at Madhavrao Scinidia Cricket Ground, Rajkot.
Pujara eventually finished with a huge score of 248 off 390 balls with 24 fours and a six, putting his team in a commanding position in the game.
There are only five active cricketers at the moment who have scored 50 or more centuries in their first class careers. Apart from Pujara, the other four are Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Hashim Amla and Wasim Jaffer.
Cook and Amla have already announced their retirement from international cricket, but they are still playing first class cricket. While Cook is representing his county Essex, Amla has signed for Surrey to feature for them in the next English summer.
As far as the Indian cricketers are concerned, Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar jointly hold the record of scoring the most hundreds in first class cricket. Both of them have scored 81 first class hundreds each.
Rahul Dravid is at no. 3 with 68 hundreds, followed by Vijay Hazare (60), Wasim Jaffer (57), Dilip Vengsarkar (55), VVS Laxman (55) and Mohammed Azharuddin (54).
Pujara has now got himself into this club of legendary players and he has the opportunity to go past many of them as well.
The 31-year old, who is one of the mainstays of the Indian national team in Test match cricket, played a massive role for India in their first ever series win in Australia last year. The gritty right-hander scored more than 500 runs for the visitors, with three centuries.
Overall Pujara has played 75 Test matches for India so far, scoring 5740 runs at a batting average close to 50. He has got 18 centuries and 24 half-centuries to his name in the longest format of the game, with the highest score of 206 not out.
Featured Image Credits: Wisden