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‘A small step towards success’

Calcutta/Benoni: Cheteshwar Pujara did not seem overwhelmed when he was declared the ‘Emerging Cricketer of the Year’ by the ICC.

The talented Pujara was chosen for his prolific performance in the longer version of the game over the last one year.

Pujara became the second fastest Indian to get to 1000 Test runs, during the course of his double hundred against Australia in March at Hyderabad, where he put on a 370-run record second-wicket partnership with Murali Vijay.

The 25-year-old Pujara has amassed 1310 runs in 15 Tests at a staggering average of 65.50.

“I believe winning isn’t everything but the desire to win is. This is just a small step towards success,” Pujara said in Benoni.

However, the Saurashtra lad did mention that his endeavour will be to work hard and play for the nation as long as possible.

“I wish to continue to work harder and live up to the expectations. I wish to serve the nation,” Pujara said.

The Telegraph had reported on December 4, after Pujara was chosen for the ICC Test Team Of The Year, that he took expectations as “a responsibility... I have the responsibility of breaking the bowlers’ rhythm.

“The top-order has to deliver, whether it’s at home or overseas. For me, it’s a challenge (to come good in South Africa), not a question of more pressure.”

On being included in the ICC team, he had said: “This is definitely special, for such recognition isn’t bestowed on everybody.

“As a kid, I first wanted to play in the Ranji Trophy, then for India A and, finally, for India... I’ve achieved that... Being picked for the ICC team means that I’ve been doing a few things right for Team India. As I’ve said, it’s a form of recognition, one which is motivating.”

On Friday, when the ICC declared in Dubai that Pujara is the ‘Emerging Cricketer of the Year’, it added to his growing stature in international cricket.