Ahead of the five match ODI series between India and Australia, Steve Smith admitted Virat Kohli is a dangerous man and a must-get wicket for the visitors. “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,” said Smith. And former Australia seamer Jason Gillespie reckons it is best that sledging is avoided as a way to get under his skin.
“Kohli is an amazing player. Once the field spreads, he can bat safely. I don’t think Australia need to get into a verbal battle or get into staring competitions with Kohli,” Gillespie told the Times of India. “The best way to put him under pressure is through disciplined bowling. I would like to see the Aussie quicks bowl bouncers throat-high to get him on the back foot, make him thinking about it.
“The follow-up ball remains the key. Make him come forward inviting the drive. If there is movement off the wicket or in the air, then the edge comes into play. Maybe they can bowl on the stumps with two catchers on the on-side. It’s about getting him out of his comfort zone.”
Kohli has a fantastic record against the Aussies with 1002 runs in 23 ODIs at an average of 55.6. Five of his 30 ODI hundreds have come against Australia and two of them have been in their own backyard. The animosity between Kohli and Australia was at fever pitch during the tour of Australia in 2014-15 and 2012 with multiple verbal spats.
The limited over series gives Kohli an opportunity to make amends for his misfiring in the Tests earlier this year where could muster only 46 runs. However, the skipper suffered an elbow injury at the time to be unable to play all four matches. But things have changed since then. Kohli is once again back in his element and leads the ODI run charts.