The veteran Indian spinner, R Ashwin has a challenge for his teammate Cheteshwar Pujara to step down the track go over the top against any spinner in the upcoming four-match Test series against England. In a conversation with India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour on his official YouTube channel, Ashwin said he will shave half his moustache and take the field if Pujara completes the challenge.
It started with R Ashwin asking the batting coach, “Will we ever see Pujara hit an off-spinner over the top?” Replying to that, Rathour said,” Work-in-progress. I’m trying to convince him that at least once go over the top. He is still not convinced, He is giving me great reasons.”
Replying to the same, Ashwin jokingly said, “If he goes over the top against Moeen Ali or any other spinner stepping down the wicket in this English series that we gonna play, I will take half my mustache out and come to play the game. This is an open challenge.” While Rathour said, “That’s a great challenge to put across. Let’s hope that he takes it up. I don’t think he will take it up”.
Pujara was recently seen in action in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia. The batsman’s grit and determination was there for everyone to see in the Brisbane Test as he stood tall even after receiving numerous body blows.
Talking about the same, Rathour said, “Because for some reason you really sledge him. I don’t know why. I love his attitude. The way he bats, the way he prepares actually he is a coach’s dream actually. So, I have to defend him against you. I think no praise is enough for the way he batted in the last Test match. The way he responded to all those short balls and all injuries that he had.”
Ashwin explained why he sledges Pujara in the team, he said, “Because what happens is, every time an opponent like Nathan Lyon is bowling, Pujji makes it so heart throbbing for me. I mean, he handles him really, really well. And the numbers show that. he is averaging 50 plus against him. So, he has done well against him and that’s his way of playing. He has a very set method. He is a stubborn character and that is his strength as well.”