Steve Smith hopes to keep ‘Enemy No.1’ Virat Kohli quiet in IND vs AUS series
Steve Smith is anxious to halt the acrimony that marked the India vs Australia Test matches and he is hopeful that the Australian cricket team will try and keep Indian skipper Virat Kohli quiet in the upcoming ODI and Twenty20 International series starting on September 17 in Chennai.cricket Updated: Sep 15, 2017 11:06 IST
Australia skipper Steve Smith is anxious to halt the acrimony that marked Test matches against India this year when the two powerhouses start a one-day international series Sunday.
Smith had a much-publicised war of words with India counterpart Virat Kohli when Australia lost the Test series 2-1 in March.
The combative Australian skipper said ahead of the first one-day clash in Chennai that he hoped the five-match series would be played in “good spirit”.
During a Test in Bangalore this year, Kohli expressed displeasure after Smith looked up to his own dressing room -- where replays could be seen by teammates -- while deciding whether to challenge an lbw dismissal.
Players are not allowed to have outside input while challenging an umpire’s decision.
While Smith later apologised for his self-admitted “brain fade” moment, Kohli slammed the Aussies at the last series press conference in Dharamsala.
“I think it will be played in good spirit. It is a hard-fought contest playing against India,” Smith said of the upcoming series which also features three Twenty20 matches.
Keeping Kohli quiet
“I am not too concerned about the differences with Kohli. He is obviously a very good player and has a phenomenal ODI record. Hopefully, we can keep him quiet as much as possible in this series. If we do that then hopefully it can go a long way in us having success on this tour,” he added.
Former captain Michael Clarke also saw a “carrot” for the Australians, who will topple South Africa from top spot in the ODI table if they can beat India 4-1. A reverse result will make India number one. The tourists, coming out of a tough two-Test series in Bangladesh that ended 1-1, are confident of doing well against the in-form hosts.
Returning all-rounder James Faulkner, looking to resurrect his career after losing a central contract, believes stints by Smith and other Australians in the Indian Premier League will help.
“There’s a lot of experience in that changing room playing in the subcontinent. Most of the boys have played enough here with the IPL and other series and the T20 World Cup,” said Faulkner.
The right-hand batsman and left-arm bowler is set to bolster Australia’s pace attack along with Nathan Coulter-Nile and Pat Cummins.
Left-arm Ashton Agar took four wickets and batsman Marcus Stoinis hit a blazing half-century in the only warm-up game in Chennai on Tuesday to lay their claims for a starting place.
India are in rampaging form after having recently blanked Sri Lanka 9-0 in Tests, one day games and T20.
They will again bank on rookie spinners Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal to counter the Australian batting, with veterans Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja still rested.
India’s fast bowling line-up looks more experienced than their opponents’ after the return of pace spearhead Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav.
“We have some plans for each of their batsmen -- especially Smith and (David) Warner. The key is about executing it on the field,” said Shami.
“Australia are a strong team. It’s difficult to say that (a clean sweep) but we will try our best for a good show. The conditions will play a big role,” he added.
Australia lost their ODI series in India 3-2 in 2013, but humbled India 4-1 at home in 2016.
India (for first three ODIs)
Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami.
Steve Smith (capt), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.