Our bowling attack is more experienced and fitter: Virat Kohli

The Indian captain believes the series will have its share of spice

By TT Bureau in Calcutta
  • Published 6.12.18, 4:00 AM
  • Updated 6.12.18, 11:37 AM
  • 3 mins read
  •  
Virat Kohli hinted that there could be a bit of banter but without breaching the code of conduct. The Telegraph file picture

Virat Kohli feels both India and Australia will not be crossing the line when it comes to on-field behaviour in the four-Test series. But at the same time, he believes the series will be having its share of spice.

Addressing the media on the eve of the opening Test at the Adelaide Oval, the India captain said: “I don’t see stuff, which has happened in the past where both teams have crossed the line, happening again. “Still, it’s a competitive sport at the end of the day and it’s international cricket. We don’t expect guys to just come, bowl and walk back.”

Kohli hinted that there could be a bit of banter but without breaching the code of conduct. “Obviously, there are going to be times when you have to put the batsmen under pressure, not necessarily by crossing the line, but by getting into their heads which you expect from any side in the world… Not just Australia...

“Also, I think a bit of banter here and there is not harmful at all,” he said.

Ever since Cricket Australia’s review post the ball-tampering scandal, the Australian team, with Tim Paine and Justin Langer at the helm, has been focusing on putting their best behaviour on the field. But that doesn’t mean the Aussies will be in a negative frame of mind in the Test series, Kohli thinks. “Personally, I don’t think any team should be totally negative after something like that (ball-tampering scandal) happens.

“The competitiveness will be there because you eventually want to get the opposition out. If the situation is going your way and you understand it’s against the crucial guy in the opposition ranks, you will go hard at that person via your body language or by putting in a word or two.”

Kohli, however, explained that the quality of players in both line-ups negates doing anything extra in order to get into the opposition’s skin. It’s the skills set that will have the final say, Kohli believes. And by no means Australia can be taken for granted when they play at home, Kohli reminded.

“I don’t see anything radical happening because the skills set is high and we necessarily wouldn’t need to get into anything. But at times when situations are difficult, you do find ways to upset the rhythm.

“You definitely can’t take any side for granted and more so Australia in Australia because regardless of what happened, their skill level is still there. And you have to respect that. At the end of the day, no matter how you talk or behave, it’s your skill level that comes into play,” the skipper pointed out.

India’s pace attack, which has been performing consistently of late, is also one of their strengths. Their additional workload on hard and bouncy Australian wickets shouldn’t be perceived as burden, though, in all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s absence, Kohli reckoned.

“The workload on guys who will play in the absence of an all-rounder will be high, but the bowlers should look forward to it and not think of it as a burden or something which is going to be tough. At the international level, things are always tough.

“So, we will just have to embrace that and make something out of the resources that we have at present and try to put in the performances the team expects of the players,” Kohli elaborated.

The experience India’s attack has gained over the years makes Kohli more confident. “This attack is pretty different from what we had when we came here last time. They are more experienced and the guys are fitter than they were when they came here last time.

“The key in Australia is to keep bowling in the right areas for longer periods of time as the conditions also become hard.”

Talking about the rival bowling attack, Kohli stressed showing positive intent especially against off-spinner Nathan Lyon. “He understands the pace of the wicket, the bounce it’s going to provide him and where the fielder should be.

“He hits the bat harder and quicker than any other spinner that I have faced in Australia. You have to at your best against a guy like Nathan and their bowling attack,” Kohli said.