New Delhi: Invariably, any series between the world’s best begins with verbal duels before emotions spill over to the field of play. The build-up not just adds to the excitement from promotional point of view but also lends an extra edge to the contest. Over the next five ODIs and three T20Is to be played in India, it’s going to be on show as the Australians come calling.
The old war horses know what it takes to beat the Australians, who have historically won-lost battles with their sheer never-say-die attitude. It’s in their DNA and also one of their biggest strengths. India will have to overcome that.
Thus, those who have been part of these big-ticket contests provide the best insight and build-up. Here’s what those legends had to stay about the India vs Australia battle beginning with the first ODI in Chennai on Saturday.
JASON GILLESPIE’S VIRAT KOHLI ADVISORY
“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.”
NO FRIENDS IN THE MIDDLE – VVS LAXMAN
“This is absolutely the No. 1 rivalry. Coming to Kohli and Smith, they are modern-day greats. The impact they have had at the international level is exemplary. On the field, you mean business and you don’t need to be friends.”
RAVI SHASTRI SAYS ‘WATCH OUT FOR DHONI’
“MS Dhoni is a massive influence on the team. He is a living legend in the dressing room and an ornament to the game. By no means or by any stretch of imagination he is finished or even half-finished yet.”
In limited-overs cricket, I think Virat is ahead of Steve, Clarke
MICHAEL CLARKE RULES IN KOHLI’S FAVOUR
“In limited-overs cricket, I think Virat is ahead of Steve, but just by that much.”
MOHAMMED SHAMI HAS PLANS
“Australia are a tough side. We can’t afford to take them lightly. We have got plans for them, which I cannot reveal.”
DON’T EXPECT A SRI LANKA JOB – SOURAV GANGULY
“At home, India will be very tough to beat. India will win but 5-0 may not be possible as Australia are a strong side,” Ganguly said here.
STEVE SMITH HAS KOHLI ON MIND
“I am not too concerned about the differences with Kohli. 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.”
WRIST-SPINNERS THE KEY PER ASHTON AGAR
“I think they (Adam Zampa, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav) will have a big role in the series, to be fair. There are three of them at the moment. I think they can certainly put more on the ball.”
ROHIT SHARMA NOT BURNT OUT
“Cricketers have limited careers, we cannot play till the (age of) 60, 70. We have to make the most of the time we have. There can’t be excuses of burnout, tight match schedule.”
COULD BE A ‘WHO FIELDS BETTER’ SERIES – TRAVIS HEAD
“Fielding could win or lose you a game. I guess the Australians pride themselves on their fielding and we have worked hard on that skill. Make sure we go in and do that in pressure situations. We have some extremely good fielders, yes. We have seen guys who can win games with their fielding.”