Former India captain Sourav Ganguly has warned against taking the talent of Cheteshwar Pujara for granted, saying the Saurashtra batsman is as important for the success of India's Test team as Virat Kohli.
Pujara, 30, averages 50.51 batting at number three in Test matches and was instrumental in India going on a record-equaling run of nine straight series wins before it came to an end against South Africa earlier this year.
Ganguly praised Pujara's technical ability with the bat and compared him favorably to former Indian batting great Rahul Dravid.
"Along with Virat Kohli in this team Pujara's record is as good as anybody. He's from that old school of cricket where he will grind you, and win you matches but he goes unnoticed," the former India captain was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
"The best team had the best number three. When India played at its best the best number three was Dravid. When India played at its best away, it's Pujara at number three.
"They actually take the shine off the new ball, allow the stroke makers to make batting easier. [Pujara] is as important to this Test team as Virat Kohli. But sometimes he goes unnoticed. Look at his Test records, after 57 Tests, he has 14 hundreds."
Pujara will not take part in the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League and has opted instead to join County Championship side Yorkshire to get accustomed to the conditions ahead of India's tour to England later this year.
India play three Twenty20 internationals and three one-day games against England in July, followed by a five-match Test series in August.
"I still prefer to play in the old school, spend a lot of time at the crease, read situation and then start scoring runs," Pujara said at an event to mark the launch of Ganguly's memoir.
"Once you assess the conditions, you know what the bowlers are up to and you are in a different zone. I don't need to worry about playing shots it comes naturally."