Don’t fire Kohli up

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Former Australia batsman Michael Hussey has issued a warning to the current crop of Baggy Green not to engage in verbal sparring with India skipper Virat Kohli.

Kohli appears to thrive on the conflict and rose to the occasion after his clashes with Ben Stokes in the recent 4-0 defeat of England on Indian soil.

Hussey told cricket.com.au: “I wouldn’t try and fire him up.

“I think he thrives on that and he’s a real competitor.

“He loves being in the fight and loves the contest out in the middle.

“I’d make sure we have some very clear plans and we try and stick to them as best as we possibly can.

“There’s no need to get involved in that sort of verbal barrage because I think that fires him up even more.

“You don’t want to get carried away with too much talk and lose your concentration of what’s important, which is executing your skills.

“The team that wins will be the one that can execute their skills at the highest quality and for the longest period of time.

“It’s not going to be the team that’s the most verbal or the most aggressive.”

Much has been made of the supposedly more reserved Australia Test team with Matthew Wade seemingly retaining his place in the team because of his ‘presence’ despite a poor run of form with the bat and a string of errors behind the stumps.

Kohli is a key man for India with nobody in the Test team scoring more runs than him since he took over as skipper during the 2014/15 tour to Australia.

Hussey feels getting him out early will be key: “From an Australian point of view, Kohli is public enemy No.1 and we have to get him out cheaply.

“If he gets in, he’ll go big and score big runs.

“He’s very confident at the moment, he knows the conditions so well and generally if he plays well, India win.

“And it’s similar with Australia – Steve Smith and David Warner are the two most important batsmen in the Australian line-up and if they score runs, generally Australia go well.

“If they don’t, the other batsmen are under enormous pressure.

“I’m sure India will be looking at Steve Smith as the key man they want to get out.”

Australia arrive in India later this month for a four Test series having lost their last nine matches in Asia.

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