Cricket

Published on February 22nd, 2017 | by Sandipan Banerjee

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Why the Australians won’t provoke Virat Kohli

A little less than 12 hours are left for the curtain to be raised from the next edition of Border – Gavaskar Trophy. The host, India are currently enjoying an emphatic 19-match unbeaten streak and their skipper Virat Kohli, who has already notched up a record 1168 Test runs in nine home matches this season, is leading by an example.

In normal circumstances, by now the Aussies would have fired a few pre-series barbs towards Kolhi’s direction as part of their infamous mind games, which any Australian team tends to imply before the start of any high profile series. However, raising a few eyebrows, the Aussies have been surprisingly keeping a low profile this time around. There has been no provoking comment from their camp, instead, there are praises.

But why have they moved away from their tried and tested tactics of playing mind games?

Well, the Australians have learnt a lesson from the 2014-15 series – the last time these two teams met in red ball cricket.

It was Virat Kohli’s debut series as the Test captain.Knowing that, on and off the field, the Aussies, particularly targeted Kohli, thinking, he might be vulnerable to these mind games. In the first Test in Adelaide, Steve Smith had been involved in quite a few heated exchanges with Kohli. Even Australia’s vice-captain David Warner has also landed himself in trouble during clashes with Indian team members throughout the series.

But after all these, Kohli finished the four-match series with four Test hundreds.

You should not mess with a sleeping giant — that’s what the Australians had learned in that series and now they are not repeating the same mistake.

In fact, instead of provocations, the visitors have decided to praise the opposition’s best man.

“He’s a class player, we know that. He’s been in terrific form the last 12-18 months,” admiring Kohli’s efforts the Aussie skipper was saying in his pre-match press conference on the eve of the first Test match at the Maharashtra Cricket Association ground in Pune.

“You can’t focus on the one, but we’ve got some plans in place for him that will hopefully work for us. If not we can go to plan B. He’s [Kohli] a class player, if we can get him out cheaply it will help our cause.”

This unaccepted gesture from the Aussies has even surprised Kohli.

“It’s fine, if they [the Australia players] had of criticised me I would have been ok with it,” he said on Wednesday. “It’s not something coming out of my mouth, so I have no control over it. I am focused and very aware of what I need to do.

“I don’t know the reason for it [Behind this approach]. There might not be any reason. I don’t want to sit here and speculate, but I can say I’m really good friends with these guys off the field. We get along really well. And on the field, we’re professional enough to understand it’s going to be a competition,” the Indian skipper said during his media interaction.

An inform Kohli against the aggressive Australian team – is one of the USPs of this series. But will the Aussies show their aggression against India’s run machine?

From the broadcaster’s and a fan’s point of view, we really hope they will.

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mm

is our guest writer. He is a cricket journalist by profession and admirer of this great sport by nature.



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