Virat Kohli is a far more experienced player than what he was during his nightmarish tour of England in 2014 but Aussie great Glenn McGrath cautioned that an in-form Jimmy Anderson could make things tougher for the Indian captain this time too.
“Kohli is a more experienced player now. Quality player, no doubt about that. But English conditions are very tough. When you have got a bowler like Jimmy Anderson, who is bowling well now, it is going to be hard work. You got to be prepared to work hard. Kohli is a quality player so I am looking forward to that contest,” McGrath told mediapersons during an interaction.
McGrath made it clear it will be foolhardy only depend on Kohli and in case he fails, it will give other players to raise their hands up.
“You always want your best batsman performing. However, it also gives another batsmen a chance to put his hand up and there are still some quality batsmen there, some quality players there. If India are really depending on one player, they have got it wrong…”, he added.
While Cheteshwar Pujara didn’t have a great run during the four-day games in England, the mere experience will prove to be handy, according to McGrath.
“I have not seen what the conditions are like in the UK. Pujara, even though he hasn’t got runs, he will be there. Just being used to the conditions, I think that will help him,” he opined.
About the bowling department, McGrath is confident that speedsters Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah will make a mark.
When asked who among Indian pacers could do the job in England, McGrath said:”Bhuvi and Bumrah. They have got pretty good control. That’s what you need, especially in England. The Dukes ball has a pronounced seam. If you get the ball in the right areas consistently, then you are going to do well. The ball will do a little bit, so yeah.. they will do well.”
Adaptability is the key, said one of Australia’s finest fast bowler.
“I think a lot of it depends on how the players adapt. You got to adapt a lot quicker these days. During my time, we used to get a couple of tour matches. They will have to adjust and adapt quicker. Obviously, there aren’t enough tour matches to really get used to the conditions. They will just have to rely on past experience,” McGrath said.
As the discussion veered towards Australian cricket, McGrath said that jury is still out on whether Tim Paine is a worthy leader of the ‘Baggy Greens’.
“We will wait and see. I think it was probably not the best way (for Paine) to get the Australian captaincy. I am sure he would have preferred it differently. But he has got the job now. It will be tough but he will have to go out there and give his best. The final Test (against South Africa) didn’t go too well. It was never going to with what all happened,” McGrath referring to the infamous ball-tampering scandal that rocked the game
“I think they have got Justin Langer (as coach), which will be great for the team. I think he is the type of guy that the team needs. Discipline and respect are two strong words for Justin. He is the type of the guy that the team needs at the moment. The team has hit pretty much rock bottom. I think one way to go,” he added.
“To think they can get away with it, was very naive… getting caught and they way it was all handled and then the punishment, it is quite extreme,” he said.
Asked if he thought ball tampering can be stopped, the legendary Aussie pacemen said it is up to the umpires and match referee to be proactive.
“The umpires are in a good position. They can see what is happening. If anyone gets caught, the punishment may be a bit harsher,” he added.
He also felt that Smith and David Warner would come back stronger from the incident and also as better persons.
“Everyone makes mistakes. I think Steve Smith will come back a better player, a better person. Same for Davey Warner. Davey, might find it a little tougher. Australia needs quality players in the team,” he added.
McGrath also praised fellow Aussie, Shane Watson, who was one of the stars of Chennai Super Kings’ triumph in the recently concluded IPL and said he is a quality player and probably saved his best for the final (in which he made 117 not out).
“Shane Watson is a quality player, no doubt about that. In the first IPL, in 2008, Rajasthan Royals won because of Watson. He did quite well. He saved his best innings for the final. He has showed that he is still good enough and still keen. Just the team with team CSK have with MS Dhoni leading. CSK have always had a good unit in the way they go about things.
McGrath said that the recently retired AB de Villiers was a class player and South Africa will miss him.
“AB (de Villiers) is class player, no doubt that. He has got more talent in his little finger than I have in my body. He will be missed. He is just a natural,” the Australia said of the South African legend.