File image of Virat Kohli© AFP
There is a lot at stake in the upcoming test series between India and Australia. For India, it is a spot in the finals of the World Test Championship while for Australia it is a series win that has proved extremely hard to come by. With India missing the services of Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah, many believe this is Australia’s best chance. Can Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne deal with Ravichandran Ashwin? Can Virat Kohli yet again bring out his best against Australia? All these battles within the battle make the upcoming Border-Gavaskar series all the more exciting.
Former Australia captain and former India Head Coach Greg Chapell feels that Virat Kohli holds the key for India.
“Virat is a very good player. One of the best. And the best players always want to do well in big series. In Virat’s case if you see he always wants to win against Australia and has played some of his best innings against Australia. He considers Australia as his biggest challenge and always pushes himself to deliver his best against Australia. He will have a major impact on this series. If Virat scores big runs, Australia will find it very hard to win this series. On the other hand, if the Australian bowlers are able to stop Virat from scoring big, Australia will have a very good opportunity to win. In sum, Virat’s batting will have a major bearing on the series, ” said Australian cricketing legend Greg Chapell on Backstage with Boria show.
Steve Smith has always relished playing against India. The last time when he toured India he led from the front starting off with a century scoring 109 in the second innings of the first Test in Pune and helping his team register a thumping win of 333 runs. His rivalry with Ravichandran Ashwin is going to keep everyone interested.
Talking about the duel between Ravichandran Ashwin and Steve Smith, Greg Chappell said, “It is a very important contest. Look every batsman knows where a bowler is likely to bowl and what is the danger area. Someone like Ashwin will look to bowl in these areas all the time. It will be on Smith and Marnus to stop him from doing so. They will have to negate him from getting into his rhythm, stop him from hitting the right areas, bowl in the danger zone. If they are able to push him off line, they would have helped set up the game for Australia. But again Ashwin is a very good bowler and we have seen him do well for years now in these conditions. So it will not be easy at all. And when you say Ashwin, it is not just him. It is also the close in fielders. India’s close in fielders are the best and they pick two wickets for India every innings in India. They move with the ball and can anticipate where the ball will be coming. You just don’t need to deal with Ashwin. Rather you need to deal with these close in fielders as well. For Australia Smith is a good slip catcher. Marnus will also stand close in. But none of the others have that kind of experience and spend that kind of time standing close to the bat. That’s where I think Australia will have to step up.”
The Border-Gavaskar Trophy is all set to start on Thursday as Rohit Sharma-led side is eyeing a place in ICC World Test Championship final, beginning June 7.
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