Veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin recently hailed his Indian team-mate as well as number three Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara for showing grit & determination on the 22 yards on Day 5 of the series-deciding fourth Test at the Gabba, Brisbane last week.
The Gujarat cricketer made the Australian bowlers toil hard for his wicket even though they were resorting to bodyline bowling tactics. He stood tall by braving constant bouncer barrage and played an impactful knock of 56 runs from 211 deliveries.
However, R Ashwin reckons that Pujara is not good enough to hit an off-spinner over the top and has vowed to shave half his mustache if the batting sensation succeeds in doing so in the upcoming four-match Test series against England starting February 5.
‘This is an open challenge’: R Ashwin
“Fact of the matter remains, every time I’ve bowled against Pujara, he has got out to me. You can cross-verify it anywhere. How much ever you back him, that’s the fact. Will we ever see Pujara hit an off-spinner over the top?” wondered Ashwin while interacting with Team India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour on his YouTube channel.
“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,” Rathour replied.
“If he goes over the top against Moeen Ali or any other spinner in this England series, I will take half my mustache out and come and play the game. This is an open challenge!” the 2011 World Cup winner added.
England tour of India 2020/21
England will be visiting India for an all-format bilateral series that will go on for almost two months. The grueling tour with the English cricket team comprises four Test matches, five T20Is, and three ODIs up until March 28. The four-match Test series will also constitute a major part of the ongoing inaugural ICC World Test Championship.
The tour kicks off with the first Test that will be played in Chennai’s M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.
Here are the fixtures of the four-match Test series:
1st Test: 5th-9th Feb (Chennai)
2nd Test: 13th-17th Feb (Chennai)
3rd Test: 24th-28th Feb (Ahmedabad)
4th Test: 4th 8th Mar (Ahmedabad)