With both teams known for their aggressive brand of cricket, sparks are expected to fly in the four-Test series when Australia take on India in the four-Test series.
Australia captain Steve Smith has given his players the licence to go for lip service if it helps them raise their game. With the experts writing their chances off against a rampaging India, Australia are in a desperate situation and their captain urged his players to do whatever it takes to win the four-Test series.
“I think each of our individuals play the way they play and if they want to get into a battle verbally then, if that gets the best out of them, go for it. It’s all about us making sure that as individuals we’re in the right mindset to go out and succeed and if guys want to get in those kind of battles then go for it,” said Smith, in his first press conference of the India tour that starts on February 23 in Pune.
Smith though reminded his players to back up their aggression with skills. “But in the end it’s about us playing on skill and making sure that our skills are in the best place for us to succeed in these conditions,” he said.
India and Australia have been involved in some acrimonious contests and their rivalry was at a boiling point in 2008 when the ‘Monkeygate’ controversy happened in Sydney. It resulted in India threatening to call off the series midway after Harbhajan Singh was suspended for racial abuse against Andrew Symonds. However, the decision was overturned and better sense prevailed.
Smith can expect a fitting response from his opposite number, India captain Virat Kohli, who doesn’t need a second invitation. A feisty character, Kohli has taken over from Harbhajan & Co, and has been involved in numerous exchanges with the Australian players.
The 2014 series in Australia, when Kohli took over the Test captaincy midway, was also marred by heated on-field exchanges which led to several players being penalised.