Cheteshwar Pujara‘s record for Sussex is absurd.

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After completing another hundred against Gloucestershire on Saturday, the India batter’s record since joining the South Coast side last year stands at 1,426 runs at an average of 95, more than Indian titans such as Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman managed in their entire county careers.

He has already notched seven centuries in the Championship for Sussex (and never been out for less than 100 after reaching 50), making him the most prolific Indian century maker in the competition after also scoring one each for Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire in earlier spells.

Mohammad Azharuddin is next on the list with eight tons for Derbyshire, while Farokh Engineer and Ravi Shastri have outscored Pujara after long spells at Lancashire and Glamorgan respectively. Both averaged less than half what Pujara has managed at Hove.

Pujara also lays claim to three of the five double hundreds scored by Indians in county cricket, and even shone in white-ball cricket last season as he averaged 89 in the One Day Cup. His 174 against Surrey was briefly the highest List A score in Sussex’s history, but it was surpassed by Ali Orr’s double hundred jut five days later.

The glut 0f county runs has come at an odd moment in the 35-year-old’s international career. Often seen as a throwback or cricketer-out-of-time for his slow scoring and solid defence, Pujara has looked at odds with India’s recent brand of Test cricket. He was dropped for a home series against Sri Lanka in 2022 following two years without a Test hundred, which gave him his chance with Sussex.

After scoring 720 runs in just eight innings at the start of last season, he was recalled for India’s sole Test against England at Edgbaston. Pujara top scored in the second innings with 66 as England went on to win thanks to a remarkable chase from Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow.

He then scored 90 and 102* in his next Test against Bangladesh, before playing an important role in India’s series win over Australia earlier this year.

Pujara appears to have picked up where he left off at Sussex this year, scoring two centuries already this season as Paul Farbrace’s side look to make it out of Division Two.

Perhaps the only blot on the Indian batter’s County record is his failure to win promotion or the Championship title.

Pakistan’s Mushtaq Ahmed boasts a similarly ludicrous record at Hove after taking 103, 102 and 90 wickets in the 2003, 2006 and 2007 seasons, but the spinner goes down as their greatest overseas player because Sussex won the County Championship in each of those years.

Equally, Indian spinner Bishan Bedi will go down as a greater overseas player for his role in taking Northamptonshire to their joint highest Championship finish of second in 1976, a position they have failed to match in the 47 years since. Bedi also took 394 Championship wickets at 21, nearly 150 more than the next best Indian in county cricket.

Despite the other legends that keep Pujara from being the greatest overseas player for Sussex, or the greatest Indian in county cricket, he is undoubtedly the greatest Indian batter to grace the shires.

His seven Sussex tons have come in just 12 games, compared to Azhar’s eight in 29, and no Indian batter has come close to his run scoring consistency over the past two seasons.

If he can keep his current run going, it will be a big boost for India when they face Australia in the World Test Championship Final at the Oval in June.