Although Australia skipper Steven Smith has given his players the license to sledge to get the desired result in the four-Test series, many former Aussie players have warned him against it, especially when Virat Kohli is the captain.
Aussie opener David Warner is the leader of the pack when it comes to firing verbal volleys, but even Smith’s deputy confessed to resisting his temptation against Kohli.
“Virat is one of those players, if you niggle at him it either makes him better or, if you get under his skin, he’ll probably get even better. He’s a world-class player at the moment and for us, it’s about going out and playing the best cricket we can,” Warner said after the drawn warm-up game on Sunday.
During India’s tour of Australia in 2014, Kohli was called a ‘spoilt brat’ but it only motivated the India skipper and he ended up scoring 692 runs in four Tests.
Warner, however, insisted that they were here to play their brand of cricket. “For us, it’s about going out there and playing our brand of cricket. We’re not going out there to entertain the idea of sledging or banter. It’s out there and playing good cricket and a great brand of cricket and making sure it’s in the spirit of the game,” said Warner.
Warner said facing off-spinner R. Ashwin would be an even bigger test for his batsmen. “Well, if he says he’s bowling at 60 to 70 per cent then Jesus, what else has he got? 24 or 25 five-fors in the last 12 months, bowling at 60 to 70 per cent. I’d hate to see 100 per cent then,” said Warner.
“We’ve got our plans. Everyone’s got their plans against Ashwin. He’s a very, very good bowler. We understand that. And the other thing is that there are other bowlers that we have to be mindful of. So, we know he will play a crucial role in this, but as I have always said, we just have to adapt to the conditions and assess when we’re out there,” said Warner.
Warner, who scored 195 runs in four Tests during Australia’s 4-0 whitewash in India in 2013, said he is better equipped this time. “Yeah, definitely (more prepared than last tour to India). The last time we played here it was my first time, so it was tough. It was challenging. I was a bit younger and a bit childish in a way.
“You’ve got to have your plans in place and you’ve got to stick to them. The biggest challenge here is being mentally fresh; you’ve got to have mental toughness. You’ve got to be willing to grind it out and bat time here. You’ve seen the players that come over here and have success --- they’re the ones that have great mental toughness,” he said.