Indian opener KL Rahul was at his humourous-best when he accused Cheteshwar Pujara of abuse of power as a senior by not sharing the fielding duties at the short-leg in Tests. On the other hand, Pujara revealed that Rahul and Murali Vijay pull his leg by calling him the best batsman in Test cricket.
India concluded the Test series in Sri Lanka with a comprehensive 3-0 series win over the hosts and strengthened their position at the helm of the Test rankings. The two main architects of India's thumping win over their sub-continental rivals were Cheteshwar Pujara and KL Rahul.
Pujara scored 153 and 133 in first innings of the first two matches and while KL Rahul made a return to the Indian team by scoring back to back half-centuries in the last two matches of the series. Rahul has cemented his place in the Test team as an opener while Pujara is hands down the best Indian batsman in Test cricket owing to his amazing consistency.
However, Rahul's career has been a start-stop affair owing to the shoulder injury that has forced him to stay away from cricket. Pujara cleverly pointed that out and quizzed Rahul.
The interview began with Pujara asking Rahul, “Whenever I visit NCA nowadays, I see only one footprint and that is of KL Rahul. So, tell me about that, bro. Has this transitioned all about that?” reported Indian Express.
“Don’t ask me, Puj. I don’t like going to the NCA for rehab. It’s been a tough time going to NCA. I mean, I enjoy going there for training and for practice, and not for rehab. Unfortunately, I’ve had a lot of injuries on the way and I think I hold you equally responsible for my injuries because you don’t share the short-leg duties with me now. You are abusing the youngster,” replied Rahul.
Rahul has emerged as one of the best fielders at short leg in Tests, a position that is credited for creating wickets in Test cricket. Pujara further questioned Rahul about his improvement as a short-leg fielder to which Rahul replied,"I’m still learning and getting better at my short-leg skills but Pujara is the legend of short-leg. Every time he is at that position, he makes a wicket happen. The ball just seems to find him, so I’ve been putting pressure on him to be there all day and take the responsibility and take one for the team."
Pujara has 4107 runs to his name in Tests and averages over 52 runs an innings and it wouldn't be wrong if he is termed as one of the best in Tests. However, Rahul and Murali Vijay have used it as a weapon to tease the Saurashtra batsman.
“One person who will agree with him is Murali Vijay. Both of them have ganged up on me. They say that I’m the best but I feel Rahul has improved a lot,” Pujara said.
Rahul ended the interview by jokingly accusing the seniors in the team dominating the juniors in the dressing room.
“This is clear indication that the senior-junior thing is still happening in the dressing room. The seniors are abusing youngsters like me.”, Rahul concluded.