Pakistan team vice-captain Mohammad Rizwan was all praises for his Sussex teammate, India’s Cheteshwar Pujara, and lauded him for his concentration levels and focus on the pitch. The two have been playing together for some time now in English county cricket.
Pujara has been on a riot with the bat, hitting four centuries in four matches he has played for Sussex including two double tons. He is currently second on the list of the highest run-getters in this season so far with 717 runs to his name. Sean Dickson leads the chart with 729 runs whereas Pakistan batter Shan Masood is third on that list with 713 runs.
In an exclusive interview with Cricwick, Rizwan was full of admiration for the Indian batter.
“As far as myself and Pujara are concerned, I didn’t feel anything strange [on the lines of India-Pakistan rivalry]. And hopefully, if you ask him, his answer will be the same as mine. Although I do share a laugh with him and tease him [laughs] and everyone in the team knows this.
But he is a very nice and loving guy. And his concentration and focus too. If you get a chance to learn something, you should do it. In terms of concentration levels and I told this to the coaches here too. In my whole career, the players with most focus, and concentration are Younis bhai, Fawad Alam, and his [Pujara’s]. Pujara is second on my list and Fawad Alam on three in terms of pure concentration and focus. I rate these three players very highly,” Rizwan said of Pujara.
Rizwan also revealed that Pujara advised him to play the ball close to his body in these conditions as the ball tends to move around quite a lot.
“What he has learned, only he can tell [laughs]. But as I said in terms of the focus and concentration levels, there is a time when that starts dropping low. Somethings are a bit personal and you can’t ask them. Or sometimes the person can’t answer them. Now I will try to figure how these three players have so intense focus and concentration. I keep on talking with Younis bhai, I couldn’t talk much with Fawad recently on this.
And with Pujara, I had a chat with him after I got out early. He told me a few things and one of them was to play close to the body. And as everyone knows, we have been playing white-ball cricket consistently over the past few years and play a bit away from our body. In white-ball, you don’t play very close to your body since the ball doesn’t swing or seam as much.
So early on here, I played away from my body and got out twice in a similar way. Then I went over to meet him in the nets and I remember him saying that when we play in Asia, we force the ball to play the drive. Here, we don’t need to do that. And we need to play close to the body. I have played white ball cricket consistently. So these are the things which he told me and whatever he learned from me, he can tell [laughs],” Rizwan said.