Kohli more than ready for fun and games with Aus­tralia

Ri­valry is reignited

Sport360 - - Front Page - By Faisal Ka­mal @ka­mal­fais ed­i­to­rial@sport360.com

In­dia skip­per Vi­rat Kohli said com­pet­i­tive­ness and “mind games” can be good for cricket as his team pre­pares to face Aus­tralia in an ODI se­ries start­ing to­day.

While Aus­tralia cap­tain Steve Smith has bat­ted for peace and urged the five-match se­ries to be played in “good spirit”, Kohli hinted that a bit of ag­gres­sion can be use­ful to get the best out of play­ers.

“All those things are to get that as­pect of mind games which I think cre­ates an ex­cite­ment for the fans watch­ing as well,” Kohli told re­porters on the eve of the lim­ite­dovers se­ries opener in Chen­nai.

“Also the play­ers in­volved in the se­ries... that be­comes more ex­cit­ing and play­ers are more pumped up to win games and outdo each other,” he added.

“I feel that in­tense com­pe­ti­tion should be there for the game to have that ex­cite­ment and keep this game alive. I think it is very im­por­tant to have that com­pet­i­tive­ness in ev­ery se­ries that you play.”

The hosts are on top form af­ter re­cently beat­ing Sri Lanka 9-0 in Tests, ODIs and a Twenty20, but sec­ond-ranked Aus­tralia pose a dif­fer­ent chal­lenge.

Kohli was fu­ri­ous af­ter a Test in Ban­ga­lore in March this year, when Smith looked up to his dress­ing room from the field – where re­plays could be seen by team-mates – while de­cid­ing whether to chal­lenge an lbw dis­missal. Smith later apol­o­gised for his self-ad­mit­ted “brain fade” mo­ment but Kohli slammed the Aussies at the time.

Af­ter land­ing in In­dia, the com­bat­ive Aus­tralian skip­per said he was anx­ious to halt the ac­ri­mony that marked the se­ries, which his team lost 2-1. Kohli stressed it was im­por­tant to pre­pare prop­erly for a se­ries ir­re­spec­tive of op­po­nents.

“Your prepa­ra­tion should mat­ter more than who you are play­ing against,” said Kohli. “So, we like to pre­pare the same way and we like to play with the same kind of in­ten­sity re­gard­less of who we are play­ing against,” he added.

Spin is king

Kohli de­clared an all-out spin war against Aus­tralia, say­ing the qual­ity of his bowlers gives him con­fi­dence for the one-day se­ries.

Left-arm wrist spin­ner Kuldeep Ya­dav and leg-spin­ner Yuzven­dra Cha­hal add va­ri­ety to the In­dian at­tack that saw pace­men Mo­hammed Shami and Umesh Ya­dav re­turn for the five-match se­ries.

While Aus­tralia cap­tain Smith is al­ready fo­cus­ing on Kuldeep in the first game, Kohli hinted at un­leash­ing two wrist spin­ners in Chen­nai.

Kuldeep made an in­stant im­pres­sion against Aus­tralia, tak­ing four wick­ets in his Test de­but in In­dia’s se­ries-clinch­ing win in Dharam­sala this year. The 22-year-old Kuldeep is likely to pair up with Cha­hal at the MA Chi­dambaram Sta­dium with left-arm spin­ner Axar Pa­tel nurs­ing a sprained an­kle.

“It is a great ad­van­tage to have two wrist spin­ners in your team, es­pe­cially when both are so dif­fer­ent to each other and both can pick up wick­ets in the mid­dle overs,” Kohli said.

“They are in a zone where they don’t mind get­ting hit as long as they pick up 3-4 wick­ets which I think is a very good space to be in.”.

Aus­tralia called in lo­cal left-arm wrist spin­ner KK Jiyas to help pre­pare for Kuldeep’s guile dur­ing prac­tice in Chen­nai. “They’re dif­fer­ent (left-arm wrist spin­ners) so it’s good to be able to get some­one who bowls a bit of that,” Smith said.

“He (Kuldeep) is a good young tal­ent and can be dif­fi­cult to pick at times. He’s some­one who you have to watch re­ally closely. Hope­fully we can put him un­der pres­sure.”

“In­tense com­pe­ti­tion should be there to keep this game alive” – Kohli

Out for now: Axar sprained his an­kle.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.