Don’t sledge Virat Kohli, Jason Gillespie tells Australia

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Don’t sledge Virat Kohli, Jason Gillespie tells Australia

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SportsCafe Desk


Former Australian pacer Jason Gillespie has warned the current Australian team against ruffling Virat Kohli’s feathers in the upcoming limited-overs series explaining that Kohli is best left alone. The pacer has also acknowledged that the Indian bowling unit has an edge over the Aussie attack.

In the past, the Australians have seen a few Indian batsmen who could survive and endure their potent bowling attacks on tough pitches and also have seen people excelling at it. However, what they probably have never seen is a batsman who gave it back to them, with the bat and with his mouth as well. In the 2014-15 series against Australia, when the Australians tried to get under Kohli’s skin, the then Indian vice-captain made sure they faced an ultra-inspired Kohli as he scored runs with consummate ease. Knowing the history, Papua New Guinea coach Gillespie, who knows a thing or two about the Aussie way, warned his compatriots to stay clear of that.

“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. 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,” Gillespie told TOI.

India go into the five-match ODI series on the back of impressive ODI performances recording series wins in the West Indies (4-1) and Sri Lanka (5-0). In contrast, Australia haven’t performed that well of late as after a group-stage exit in the Champions Trophy, they could only manage to draw the two-match Test series in Bangladesh. However, Gillespie, pretty much like his former teammate Michael Clarke, predicts that the Australians will win the series. 

“Australians can't say that they are not used to the conditions. I think what has to be said is that India are an amazing 50-over side. At home, India are almost unbeatable. It's a tough ask for any side. It's going to be a closely-fought series. I feel Australia will win 3-2,” he said.

Australia will miss Mitchell Starc’s pace and death bowling in the upcoming series against India owing to the pacer's thigh injury. However, the flat pitches suggest that the difference could instead lie in the quality of the respective spin attacks. So the former pacer feels that the team shouldn’t rue about his absence and it is an opportunity for the youngsters to step up to the occasion and make it count.

Starc is Australia's premier fast bowler in ODIs. It's unfortunate that he is not part of the series. But I feel the others can do the job. I don't expect Cummins to play every ODI. Maybe two-three out of the five. Coulter-Nile could play as many games as possible. I know the selectors think highly of Coulter-Nile because he bowls fast and hits the pitch hard. Hopefully, he can perform well in India,” he said.

However, Gillespie doesn’t shy away from accepting the fact that the Indian bowling attack has the edge in the upcoming challenge for their clear cut plans and adaptability on any pitches across the country.

“The Indian attack has the edge. The Indian seamers, Shami, Yadav, Bhuvneshwar, Jasprit Bumrah, adapt well to the surfaces in India. It appears to me that they have clear plans and are embracing the challenge of bowling on flat surfaces. I'm sure the Aussies too will go in with a similar attitude and they will not think that they will be belted around. Attitude is everything with regards to bowling in Indian conditions,” he signed off.

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