Don’t poke the bear

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Nobody should need to be told ‘Don’t poke the bear’ and likewise Australia should not need to be warned not to rile Virat Kohli.

In limited overs cricket few players are as ruthless and destructive as Kohli and the India skipper loves a scrap.

Kohli’s last meeting with Australia in limited overs cricket saw him dump them out of the World T20 with a brilliant unbeaten 82.

But sledging is something that comes so naturally to Australian cricketers that is seems they need to be reminded.

During the Test series earlier this year things got ugly and both sides were left with a sense that they may have gone too far with Steve Smith issuing a qualified apology while Kohli declared that some friendships had been ended.

Former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie, a man not averse to a bit of verbal, has warned that getting under Kohli’s skin may be unwise.

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Gillespie told the Times of India: “Kohli is an amazing player.

“Once the field spreads, he can bat safely.

“I don’t think Australia need to get into a verbal battle or get into staring competitions with Kohli.

“The best way to put him under pressure is through disciplined bowling. I would like to see the Aussie quicks bowl bouncers throat-high to get him on the back foot, make him thinking about it.

“The follow-up ball remains the key; make him come forward, inviting the drive. If there is movement off the wicket or in the air, then the edge comes into play.

“Maybe they can bowl on the stumps with two catchers on the on-side. It’s about getting him out of his comfort zone.”

The first ODI takes place on Sunday in what will be a packed MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

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