Smith bat­ting for peace with In­dia

The Weekend Post - - Sport -

AUSTRAIAN cap­tain Steve Smith is anx­ious to halt the ac­ri­mony that marked Test matches against In­dia this year when the two pow­er­houses start a one-day in­ter­na­tional se­ries to­mor­row.

Smith had a much-pub­li­cised war of words with In­dia coun­ter­part Vi­rat Kohli when Aus­tralia lost the Test se­ries 2-1 in March.

The com­bat­ive Aus­tralian skip­per said ahead of the first one-day clash in Chen­nai that he hoped the five-match se­ries would be played in “good spirit”.

Dur­ing a Test in Ban­ga­lore this year, Kohli ex­pressed displeasure af­ter Smith looked up to his own dress­ing room – where re­plays could be seen by team­mates – while de­cid­ing whether to chal­lenge an LBW dis­missal.

Play­ers are not al­lowed to have out­side in­put while chal­leng­ing an um­pire’s de­ci­sion.

While Smith later apol­o­gised for his self-ad­mit­ted “brain fade” mo­ment, Kohli slammed the Aus­tralians at the last press con­fer­ence of the se­ries in Dharam­sala.

“I think it will be played in good spirit. It is a hard-fought con­test play­ing against In­dia,” Smith said of the up­com­ing se­ries which also fea­tures three Twenty20 matches.

“I am not too con­cerned about the dif­fer­ences with Kohli. He is ob­vi­ously a very good player and has a phe­nom­e­nal ODI record.

“Hope­fully, we can keep him quiet as much as pos­si­ble in this se­ries. If we do that then hope­fully it can go a long way in us hav­ing suc­cess on this tour,” he added.

For­mer cap­tain Michael Clarke also saw a “car­rot” for the Aus­tralians, who will top­ple South Africa from top spot in the ODI ta­ble if they can beat In­dia 4-1. A re­verse re­sult will make In­dia No.1.

The tourists, com­ing out of a tough two-Test se­ries in Bangladesh that ended 1-1, are con­fi­dent of do­ing well against the in-form hosts. Re­turn­ing all­rounder James Faulkner, look- ing to res­ur­rect his ca­reer af­ter los­ing a cen­tral con­tract, be­lieves stints by Smith and other Aus­tralians in the In­dian Pre­mier League will help.

“There’s a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence in that chang­ing room play­ing in the sub­con­ti­nent. Most of the boys have played enough here with the IPL and other se­ries and the T20 World Cup,” Faulkner said.

In­dia are in ram­pag­ing form af­ter hav­ing re­cently blanked Sri Lanka 9-0 in Tests, one-day games and T20.

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