Ricky Ponting, the former Australia cricket team skipper, has urged Tim Paine’s side to get under the skin of Virat Kohli rather than sitting back and get bullied by the Indian cricket team captain. Speaking to the official Cricket Australia website, Ponting said Kohli can still get ‘rattled’ by the opposition if they can sustain the pressure that is built on him. “I don't necessarily believe that he is someone you shouldn't try to get under his skin. I have seen him rattled. Mitchell Johnson definitely rattled him a few times with some good hostile bowling and some good hostile body language around him. So, I would not sit back and let anyone bully. The way we go about playing cricket, especially at home, it is about good strong body language. That is the way Australians have always played their best,” Ponting said.
Ponting’s words are in stark contrast to Dean Jones’ opinion that Australia should not sledge Kohli and they should treat him like a ‘best mate’. “Do not talk or provoke him. Trying to find a weakness in Kohli’s game is like trying to find something wrong with the Mona Lisa. Teams must stop his cover drive and bowl in different areas. At the start of Kohli’s innings, quicks need to bowl at a fourth-stump line and make him play on the back foot. Do not give him width and length outside off-stump,” Jopnes had remarked in the Sydney Morning Herald a few days back.
The former Australian skipper, who led the team to two World Cup title wins in 2003 and 2007, said it would be wrong for Australia to not play with an ‘aggressive’ mind. However, he cautioned that unless Australia do not back up their aggression with good bowling, all their efforts will be wasted.
“Australian teams of the past have always had few words to say but it was always on the back of some good hostile bowling, you can't do without it. It is rubbish otherwise. You have to able to impose yourself on the game in a way other than using your mouth. You got to use your actions and skills,” Ponting said.
Kohli, who blasted four centuries and scored 692 runs at an average of 86 in the previous tour of 2014/15, will once again be aiming to hurt Australia. The Indian skipper already hit a match-winning 61 to help India level the three-match Twenty20 International series in Sydney and performed well in the warm-up game. Ponting added that Australia must get inside the head of the Indian skipper and dry up his main areas of scoring.
India have a golden chance to break their Test rut Down Under, having never won a series there since they started touring Australia in 1947.