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India vs Australia: Virat Kohli must be made to earn his runs – Gillespie

India skipper Virat Kohli is in the form of his life and will start the Test series against Australia at his favourite ground in the country — Adelaide Oval. But former Australia pacer Jason Gillespie feels that Kohli isn’t invincible. While Kohli is one of the top rated batsmen in world cricket at the moment, Gillespie feels that hitting the right areas against the India captain from the word go is the way forward if one wants to dismiss him cheaply.

“You need to be switched on from ball one. Because if Kohli has faced 20-odd balls and he has got more than 10-15 runs, he usually gets a significant score. And that is why it is so crucial to impact early. There cannot be any warm-up deliveries against Kohli. Don’t allow him to get going by giving him an easy shot — a half-volley, a tuck off the hip, a cut shot.

“If he is going to score runs, make him earn them, make him play really good shots, and make him take a risk. That applies to every batsman, but because Kohli is such a big and important player in this Indian side and so much rests on him as captain, it is really important to make sure you are switched on and you are bowling the best delivery you can,” he told Cricinfo.

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Another ploy that the former Australia pacer feels will work against Kohli is getting the ball to move early in his innings. “Everyone thinks Kohli has no weaknesses, and that is fair. He has a lot of strengths. But in England when the ball seamed or swung a little bit, I noticed he, at times, went really hard at the ball. I would like the Australian bowlers to have a look at that.

“On good surfaces where the ball is not really swinging or seaming, even if the length is not really quite there to drive, Kohli might still throw his hands at it and he will connect 99 times out of 100. But those deliveries in the UK were a bit different, with the Dukes ball, where Kohli nicked to the keeper and slips reasonably early a few times,” he said.

The fourth stump line is also something that Gillespie wants the Australians to try against Kohli. “That fourth-stump line, about bail-high, with the potential movement away would be my stock ball to Kohli as a right-arm bowler. The variation would be the one that is pitched on off stump and just holds its line. And maybe even look to angle the ball back in to create the opportunity for bowled or lbw. To me that would be a really simple, easily implementable plan.

“Bowling straight was also a good counter to Kohli’s strategy in England this summer. He was plonking his front foot towards the off stump and flicking it to midwicket. It got him to get off strike easily. But if you maintain that off stump or fourth-stump line I am talking about, with the ball going away from him, if he tries to access those deliveries, to get over them, then there is the potential it could hurt him,” he said.

First Published: Dec 03, 2018 10:07 IST

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