Virat Kohli might be the top batsman in the world, but if they are at their best, the Australian pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins will test him, feels Tim Paine.
The first match of the four-Test series begins in Adelaide on December 6, with Australia still without Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft and many people suggesting that in their absence, India have as good a chance as ever to beat Australia in their backyard.
“I think our fast bowling attack … if they play purely on skill, they’re going to trouble him,” Paine was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au. “At times when we get too emotional, we can lose our way a little bit. So, it’s a really fine line.
“There’s going to be times when they’re going to get a bit fiery, I’m sure. But we need to be mindful of keeping ourselves calm enough so we can execute our skills as well.”
The contests between the two teams of late have involved a fair bit of verbal sparring, staring, and a bit more at times, and while Paine doesn’t expect that to stop altogether, he is hoping it’s not needed too much. This, after all, is an Australian side grappling with ‘cultural’ issues, with scrutiny on their behaviour at an all-time high.
With Kohli never one to shy away from a chat in the middle, or outside, the Australians’ patience might be tested at times.
“He’s certainly someone who, from what I’ve seen, enjoys getting into that sort of stuff. We’ll just play it by ear; if there’s a time when we think we need to have a word with him, I’m sure we will. If there’s other times when we feel like we’re bowling well against him and are troubling him, then you don’t have to do it,” said Paine.
“It’s just about picking your time and picking your moment and doing what the team requires. I think it’s important that guys play the way that suits them. If you’re someone who likes to get into a contest one-on-one with someone like Virat, then go for your life.
“But I don’t think it needs to be over the top and I don’t think guys who aren’t normally like that need to start doing it.”