Former skipper Ricky Ponting has suggested Australia to take a leaf out of their arch-rival James Anderson’s book if they want to get the better of Virat Kohli in the forthcoming four-match Test series against India. Ponting also said it won’t be a bad idea to play with the Indian captain’s ego by stopping him from doing things he likes.
“Who has had the most success against Virat Kohli and why? The first one that comes to mind is someone like a James Anderson, who’s probably had the most success against him. From what I’ve watched over the years, he seems to trouble him the most.
“You can put a few fielders out (on the boundary) early on, don’t let him get any boundaries. Maybe don’t go as aggressive at him early on. Try to bowl lots of tight, consistent stuff. He likes to run the ball down to third man a lot as well, so maybe just play around with some guys in different areas which might just get inside his head as to what we’re trying to do. Bring your third (slip) or your floating slip up a little tighter because he tends to play with soft hands and run the ball down there.
“Just so he’s got to think about it and show that we’re ready and prepared for what he can do. I think there’s little things that might just get inside his mind.”
Kohli had a horrid time against Anderson, who has dismissed him five times (the joint most by any bowler along with Stuart Broad and Nathan Lyon), in England in 2014. The India captain, however, got his own back in England this year, not falling even once to Anderson in the series and plundering 593 runs at 59.30 in the series.
The last time Kohli played Tests in Australia, he pummeled 692 runs at 86 and had few fiery battles with former pacer Mitchell Johnson. Ponting said Australia shouldn’t be shy of a confrontation with Kohli.
“I don’t necessarily believe that you shouldn’t try to get under his skin,” Ponting said of Kohli. “Mitchell Johnson definitely rattled him a few times with some good, hostile bowling and some good, hostile body language around him.
“We shouldn’t sit back and let anyone bully the way we go about playing our cricket, especially at home. They’re in our backyard.
“The great Australian teams that I played in always had a few words to say, but it was always on the back of some good, hostile bowling first. You can’t do it (verbals) without it – it’s just rubbish otherwise. You have to be able to impose yourself on the game in a way other than using your mouth. You’ve got to use your actions and your skills and if they do that, then they can definitely unsettle him.”
India have been the top-ranked Test side for more than two years but have hardly achieved any success outside Asia. “With that expectation comes pressure,” said Ponting. “He likes the pressure, Virat, because he’s been there, he’s an experienced guy that’s had a lot of success.
“A lot of their other guys haven’t, a lot of other guys haven’t had that much success, certainly away from home. They’ve got their own challenges, there’s no doubt about it.”