Cheteshwar Pujara’s parents played a major role in his upbringing as a cricketer, and his father Arvind continues to keep a keen eye on his son’s progress. “My wife used to switch off all the lights at home at 9 p.m. so that he could sleep properly,” the senior Pujara says.
“Once he fell asleep, she would take care of the daily chores. As Gujaratis, we enjoy watching Dandiya Raas during Navratri, but his mother compromised on all that just for his sake. I have only given Cheteshwar the knowledge of cricket, the balance of mind and discipline you see in him comes from his mother,” he adds.
Cheteshwar doesn’t stare at you from towering billboards, and Indian Premier League teams don’t fall over each other trying to rope him in. His father, though, wants his son to keep his fans happy. “Cheteshwar has earned accolades as a batsman; now I want him to play for his fans,” he says with a smile. “There aren’t many people in this world who can give joy to millions just by brandishing the willow. If you are bestowed with such gifts, then might as well use it to give back to the people who root for you every time you walk out to bat.”