‘Will take half my moustache out and come to play’: Ashwin gives an ‘open challenge’ to Pujara ahead of England Tests
After defeating Australia in their own backyard, the Indian cricket team is gearing up to host England for a 4-match Test series at home, starting from February 5 in Chennai. Ahead of the series, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has thrown a big challenge to his teammate Cheteshwar Pujara.
Ashwin has dared Pujara to step down the track and go over the top against any English spinner. And if the latter manages to do so, the ace Indian off-spinner will shave half his moustache and come out to play.
During a conversation with India's batting coach Vikram Rathour on his official YouTube channel, Ashwin asked if Pujara will ever hit an off-spinner over the top. In reply, the batting coach 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.”
Ashwin then 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 moustache out and come to play the game. This is an open challenge.”
“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,” Rathour said.
Pujara was recently seen in action in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia. The batsman's grit and determination were there for everyone to see in the final Test as he stood tall even after receiving numerous body blows.
Often criticised for his slow scoring rate, Pujara batted like a warrior in the fourth Test against Australia last week. He took blows on the body, fingers, and head, but did not flinch. He stood tall, defying the Australia bowlers who looked for one opportunity to break into the Indian lower-order.
“Because for some reason you really sledge him. I don't know why. What the deal there? You really go after him all the time. And him being one of my favourite players in the team. 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,” Rathour said.
Both Ashwin and Pujara will now be seen in action in the four-match Test series against England. The first Test is set to begin in Chennai on February 5.
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