India captain Virat Kohli on Monday lavished praise on strike bowler Jasprit Bumrah for bowling with full intensity in the nets. Kohli said that Bumrah, who made his comeback after a gap of almost four months due to injury, does not shy away from targeting the batsmen’s head or ribs in the nets. Also Read - India vs England, Motera Pitch Controversy: Rohit Sharma Claims Batsmen Committed Mistakes
“According to me he’s (Bumrah) the most skilful bowler in the world in any format of the game. To play against him, he brings match intensity in the nets. He’s not shy of hitting us on the head or targeting our ribs every now and then,” Kohli said at the pre-match press conference ahead of the first ODI against Australia at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Also Read - IND vs ENG: Ravichandran Ashwin Anointed 'Modern-Day Legend' After Record-Equalling Feat
Kohli said that Bumrah’s intensity during the net session knows no bounds and went on to share his own experience. Also Read - ENG vs IND 2021: Joe Root Reacts England's 10-Wicket Loss in Pink-Ball Test, Says Week Like This Doesn’t Define us as Team
“He’s a proper, proper bowler and it’s always nice to play against the best in the nets. I challenge myself to play well against him, not every day do you get to hit boundaries off Jasprit in the nets,” Kohli said.
On the eve of the first match at the Wankhede Stadium, Kohli and Bumrah were locked in a keen tussle at the nets.
“Bumrah has been playing for the team for last four years and this is probably the second time I have ever got out (in) the net, hitting a few against him and not getting out. One was Adelaide before the Test in 2018 and one was today. I’m glad that was the last ball of my net session, because he ran back to his mark, but I got out of the nets,” said Kohli.
Kohli also admitted that said it will be a challenge for the Indian middle-order to face Australia’s pace spearhead Mitchell Starc and his colleagues.
“It is going to be a great challenge for them to face someone like Mitchell. He is a very skilful bowler. Looks like he’s back to swinging the ball like he used to, and that makes him a lethal bowler again,” said Kohli.
“Anyone who has pace, once they find their length they can adjust anywhere, so pace is always going to be an advantage.”
Saying that Adam Zampa played a key role in Australia’s 3-2 win in India last year, Kohli feels the leg-spinner had more belief than other bowlers.
“His mindset was a standout for them in the last series. And he made those important breakthroughs in the games that they won after having lost (the first) two.
“So, we have to be at our best game against them in the middle-overs and not think too much about what he’s going to do.”
He rated the Wankhede track as “probably the best pitch to bat in India” and “probably along with Adelaide – the best batting wicket I’ve played on”.