Australia legspinner Adam Zampa counts Virat Kohli among the toughest batsmen he has ever bowled to even as he revealed how the five-time ODI World champions have figured out the India captain’s weakness.
In the first ODI of the ongoing three-match series in Mumbai, Kohli fell to Zampa, the sixth time in international cricket that the Australian has done so – four times in ODIs and twice in T20Is.
“He (Kohli) is a very hard guy to bowl to,” Zampa said on Thursday. “He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever had to bowl to. After game one (first ODI), he will be even more switched on. It will be a big challenge.”
Zampa claimed that Kohli, who has 11625 runs in 243 ODIs, finds a bit difficult to face legspinners early in his innings. “We basically just found that Virat finds leg-spinners hard to line up early in his innings. He’s such a great starter, even the other day he was 16 off 14. How much energy he brought to the crease, his running between the wickets, some of the cover drives he played off the quicks,” he said on the eve of the second ODI.
“I think it’s important to try and have a game plan against him. So we figured out before the last game that it would be good to start with leg-spin to him. I’ve got him out four times in the last year or so it’s nice to have that confidence to bowl to him at the start of his innings,” said Zampa, who is on his third tour of India.
The 27-year-old Zampa however doesn’t read too much into his apparent hold over Kohli saying he still manages to score better than run-a-ball. “You probably know you’re going to get hit for boundaries but it can really get worse if you make that affect you. I have got him (Kohli) a few times now but I don’t think there is anything in it. He still scores at over 100 (strike rate) against me.”
Explaining how he plans to counter Kohli, who averages nearly 60 in ODIs, Zampa said, “It’s going to be an attacking approach. I think if you’re on the back-foot and have a defensive mindset then that’s when he (Kohli) can get on top of you. The most important thing playing in places like India against these guys is to have a little bit of character.”
Recently Kohli had praised Zampa saying on their last tour of India, he looked the most confident of Aussie bowlers.
“It’s a big compliment from Virat. I’m not the most skillful leg-spinner in the world. Guys like Kuldeep Yadav and Rashid Khan are guys that are really hard to pick. But one thing I have always tried to do is have a strong character,” Zampa said.
He also dismissed the notion that Kohli takes him lightly, something with batting legend Steve Waugh pointed out after the first ODI. “I don’t think he (Kohli) doesn’t respect me. I don’t think that’s correct (Waugh’s statement).”