Team India batter and Saurashtra captain Cheteshwar Pujara has created history by becoming one of the rare Indian overseas captain of a County cricket side in England. Pujara, who is representing Sussex in the 2022 County season has been named as the interim skipper of the side in the game against Middlesex, which features Umesh Yadav, after regular captain Tom Haines was injured.
Pujara celebrated his captaincy debut with an unbeaten century, 115 not out off 182 balls – his fifth hundred of the season. The skipper put on 219 runs for the third wicket with Tom Alsop, who scored 135 as Sussex ended Day 1 on 328 for 4. Indian pacer Umesh Yadav, who played for Middlesex, went wicket-less on the opening day ending up with 0/42 in 18 overs.
The decision was taken by the team management following the news that Tom Haines will be out for around 5-6 weeks after breaking a bone in his hand whilst batting against Leicestershire last week. Pujara is the leading run-scorer for Sussex and the third-highest run-getter in County Cricket’s Division 2 this season, having notched up 881 runs from 7 matches at an average of 125.85 with five hundreds.
Pakistan opener Shan Masood is the leading run-scorer in Division 2 with 1,074 runs in 8 matches for Derbyshire while Ben Duckett of Nottinghamshire has 1,001 runs in 9 matches – the only two batters with more runs than Pujara.Head coach of the Sussex cricket team, Ian Salisbury said: “Cheteshwar Pujara was very keen to step up in the absence of Tom Haines, he sees the potential in this side and has been a natural leader ever since he joined.
“Finny did a brilliant job for us after Tom was injured and will remain the senior figure among our bowlers. By having a batter take up the role it means Finn can focus on leading our attack. Pujara is a vastly experienced and qualified person who I know will do a fantastic job,” added the coach.The match will be played at the historic Lord’s Cricket Ground. English county cricket has always played a huge part in Cheteshwar Pujara’s career. The experienced batsman returned to the Indian cricket team due to his top-notch performance in the Ranji Trophy and the county cricket in England.