'We love to hate him': World No. 1 Pacer on Cheteshwar Pujara

image-lftexuvxCheteshwar Pujara has always been a tough nut to crack for the Aussies

Australian pacer Josh Hazlewood had some exciting things to say about Indian batter Cheteshwar Pujara. Hazlewood, who has dismissed Pujara seven times in the Test format, described him as a player that Australians "love to hate."

Despite this, he acknowledged that their battles have been great tussles over the years and praised Pujara's abilities as a "fantastic player."

In a recent interview on the RCB podcast, the Australian explained that getting Pujara's wicket is a special thrill for bowlers. He emphasised that even if a bowler dismisses the Indian talisman on the fifth ball of an over, they have already earned his respect through previous encounters in previous Tests.

"It’s a bigger thrill for the bowlers. I think when you do end up getting his wicket, it means you have earned it. It means you’ve put in a lot of hard work," said Hazlewood.

According to Hazlewood, his battles with the Indian veteran have been particularly memorable, especially in Australia. However, the pacer gave credit where it was due and commended Pujara's exceptional cricketing abilities.

"He’s someone I’ve had some great tussles over the years, and, in particular, in Australia. He’s someone Australians love to hate, but he’s a fantastic player and I guess that is part of Test cricket. When you do get him out, you’ve earned it," added the Aussie quick.

The World No. 1 ODI bowler's praise for Pujara comes after the recent Border-Gavaskar series, in which India beat Australia 2-1, where he was forced out of action due to an Achilles injury.

Hazlewood is a part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore squad for the upcoming IPL season, although his participation may be limited due to his injury. RCB paid INR 7.75 crore for him ahead of the 2022 season, and he performed well for them, claiming 20 wickets that season.

The Faf du Plessis-led side is set to face Mumbai Indians in their opening tournament match on April 2.