London: India batsman KL Rahul has praised team-mate Jasprit Bumrah and said the pacer is not someone you want to mess with as he is very competitive once he steps out on the park.
"He is a phenomenal talent and I had the opportunity and privilege to play with him even before he had the chance to play for his country. We played on the same junior level team and he's always someone that's very determined and dedicated and very passionate about cricket," ESPN Cricinfo quoted Rahul as saying.
"He is someone you do not want to mess with because he bowls the ball at serious speeds and he's a competitor off the field even when we're playing against each other. There's no mercy, even for the guys who play for the same country - he's always very competitive. The things that he's doing for the country right now are absolutely fantastic and I know he's only going to grow and get better," he added.
Rahul was recently dropped from the India Test squad after failing to showcase good performances in the series against West Indies. He was replaced by Rohit Sharma as the opening batsman for the ongoing Test series against South Africa.
The 27-year-old also pointed out that Australia's Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon and Afghanistan's Rashid Khan have troubled him the most.
"Pat Cummins, who is the No. 1 Test bowler right now. I found him very hard to face. Rashid Khan has always got the edge over me - he has my number a little bit. Nathan Lyon from Australia. All these guys, and Bumrah of course," Rahul said.
Bumrah was ruled out of the Test series against South Africa on September 24 due to a minor stress fracture in his lower back. He was then replaced by Umesh Yadav in the Indian squad.
Rahul also lauded England all-rounder Ben Stokes for his innings in the third Ashes Test. Stokes had played a match-winning knock of 135 runs to take England to an improbable one-wicket win for Australia.
"It's funny because we were playing a Test match, too, in Antigua. But we were following the scores on the manager's phone, as we're not really allowed to use phones during the game. The manager kept checking for scores and we kept following ball-by-ball," Rahul said.
"What he did was unbelievable. It will always remain the best Test match that was ever played. To play an innings like that is incredible. He's a phenomenal player and phenomenal athlete - you can watch that match over and over again," he added.