With Virat Kohli set to return after the first Test of the four-match series against Australia next month, India are in real danger of a series whitewash unless the captain leaves after setting the tone, Michael Clarke has warned. Also Read - T Natarajan Lauds Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane Captaincy After Impressive Team India Debut in Australia, Recalls Emotional Moment
Kohli will be part of the limited-overs leg of the Australia tour which begins from November 27 but will return to India after the first Test in Adelaide for the birth of his first child. And Clarke, a former Australia captain, reckons the tourists will have to taste success in the one-dayers and T20Is to have any chance of beating Australia in the four-Test series. Also Read - Washington Sundar Reveals Best Moment of His Life, Says it is Rishabh Pant's Winning Four at Gabba vs Australia
“These one-dayers and these Twenty20s is where Virat Kohli can really stand up and lead from the front,” Clarke said on Sky Sports Radio on Tuesday. Also Read - Ravichandran Ashwin: Tim Paine Played Perfect Host by Missing Rishabh Pant Stumping Chance at Brisbane
Clarke says unless Kohli leads from the front during his presence, India “will get smoked 4-0.”
“I think the tone he sets with this team will play a big role when he leaves, after the first Test match. If India don‘t have success in the one-dayers and the T20s, they are in deep trouble in the Test matches and they’ll get smoked 4-0, in my opinion,” Clarke predicted.
India won their maiden Test series on Australian soil under Kohli in 2018-19.
Although Kohli didn’t set the stage on fire as per his own standards but he still scored 282 runs at 40.28.
As per Clarke, Kohli and right-arm pacer Jasprit Bumrah will have to lead the charge from ball one.
“He‘s (Bumrah) quick, he’s got a really different action, so I think he needs to set the tone and be really aggressive to the Australian batters,” he said. “Even to someone like Steve Smith, he’s got to use that short ball consistently and regularly, like Jofra Archer did to Steve Smith in the Ashes.”
“They’ve got to take the Aussies on and those two players are India’s best two players to be aggressive to the Australians,” he said.
India will play three ODIs, as many T20Is before the much-awaited four-match Test series during their tour of Australia.