‘Not wor­ried about ac­co­lades for Kohli’

Hindustan Times (Gurugram) - - Ht Sportsmax - Sports­desk@hin­dus­tan­times.com

I hope the guys will put their hands up and play some good cricket and win games for Australia. That’s re­ally im­por­tant for us. STEVE SMITH, On the ODI se­ries

CHEN­NAI: Australia cap­tain Steve Smith said he is not too wor­ried about In­dia cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli run­ning away with the top hon­ours in ODI cricket. Kohli, Smith, Joe Root and Kane Wil­liamson are the crème de la crème of this gen­er­a­tion’s bats­men but Kohli is prov­ing to be some­thing spe­cial in the 50-over for­mat with 30 cen­turies in 194 matches.

Of those, 19 have come bat­ting se­cond, mak­ing Kohli the bats­men with the most cen­turies in suc­cess­ful chases. Sachin Ten­dulkar, with 17, held the pre­vi­ous record. When asked why Kohli is quickly in­creas­ing the gap be­tween him and the rest, Smith chose to stay non-com­mit­tal.

“I’m not sure. I think In­dia play a lot more ODI cricket than we do. I’m not sure how many games Vi­rat has played. Both Vi­rat and Joe Root are very good play­ers. I am not wor­ried about per­sonal ac­co­lades or any­thing like that. I am here to try and win a se­ries,” said Smith at a press con­fer­ence here ahead of the first ODI.

“The In­dian team has a very good top-seven and all guys are ca­pa­ble of scor­ing big runs. Our bowlers have to be on the top of their game to keep them quiet in this se­ries,” he said.

With less than two years to go for the next World Cup, this se­ries should pro­vide both teams some an­swers with re­gards to team com­bi­na­tion. Smith has done the cal­cu­la­tions as well. “We had a chat about it the other day. We have about 30 ODI games be­fore the World Cup. For us it is about try­ing to find the right group of play­ers to fill all slots,” he said.

“Hope­fully, this group can go a long way into fill­ing those spots and play some re­ally good cricket in the next five here and the one­day­ers to the World Cup. As a team we want to win ma­jor tour­na­ments and are al­ways look­ing to en­sure we are in the best pos­si­ble po­si­tion to do so. It is an­other step to­wards that,” he said.

Though pre­par­ing for the World Cup is the long-term plan, there is no doubt in the visi­tors’ mind that they are here to win the ODI se­ries. “Con­di­tions are ob­vi­ously slightly dif­fer­ent to what they will be in Eng­land. But I think it is a good op­por­tu­nity to put their names up there and hope­fully win some games for Australia,” said Smith.

Steve Smith had a good run in the Test se­ries ear­lier this year.

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