According to Ravi Ashwin, Cheteshwar Pujara wanted other Saurashtra players to come down and play league cricket in Chennai to get even more stronger when they defend the title next season. Pujara finally experienced a dream come true when they lifted the maiden Ranji Trophy by beating Bengal.
Last year, it took just a call from Ravichandran Ashwin to convince Cheteshwar Pujara to play an 'important game' for his club MRC 'A' in Tamil Nadu CA's first division league. India's dependable No 3 landed and scored 162 for MRC against Crombest Club giving another example of his commitment towards the game irrespective of the level of competition. This year the same was going to happen but Pujara was not hundred per cent well after returning from New Zealand but the Indian top batter did lay plans for his fellow batters in the Ranji Team whom he wanted to send to Tamil Nadu, to make them even stronger for the upcoming domestic season.
“It is not long ago that we were planning for Cheteshwar Pujara to come down to Chennai and play league cricket for us. My team, Mylapore RC, was in a relegation battle in the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association Division One, and Pujara's team, Saurashtra, had just won the Ranji Trophy on March 13. He wanted to come, but he was not 100% well, having fallen sick after returning from New Zealand,” said Ashwin, as quoted by Cricinfo.
“We managed to avoid relegation without him, but he had plans for other Saurashtra players to come down and play league cricket in Chennai because he wants Saurashtra to get even stronger when they defend the title next season,” he added.
The last year runner-ups Saurashtra won the 2019-20 season of Ranji Trophy. In eight years, Saurashtra has qualified in four finals, and finally, the day came when they lifted their maiden Ranji Trophy title. A big credit went to Saurashtra captain Jaydev Unadkat who led his side from the front. The left-arm pacer had an unbelievable tournament. He grabbed 67 wickets in the competition – second highest in a single season by any bowler in the history of Ranji Trophy.
Over the years, the south-western region of Gujarat has produced several renowned cricketers – including Duleepsinhji, L. Amarsinh, L. Ramji, Vinoo Mankad, Salim Durrani, Dhiraj Parsana, Karsan Ghavri, Ravindra Jadeja, Unadkat and Cheteshwar Pujara – and takes pride in its rich cricketing history.