New Delhi: Jason Gillespie was known as a chirpy pacer who loved having a word with opposition batsmen on the field. But the former Australia pacer has warned the current Australian team — led by Steve Smith — against ruffling India skipper Virat Kohli’s feathers. Gillespie feels that engaging in verbal battles will not stand the Aussies in good stead during the limited-overs series which will see the two teams play 5 ODIs and 3 T20Is.
“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 Papua New Guinea coach told TOI.
Just like former Australia skipper Michael Clarke, Gillespie is also optimistic of the visitors’ chance to win the ODI series. And the former pacer feels knowing the conditions thanks to the IPL could help the Kangaroos.
“Australians can't say that they are not used to the conditions. I think what has to be said is that India are an amazing 50-over side. At home, India are almost unbeatable. It's a tough ask for any side. It's going to be a closely-fought series. I feel Australia will win 3-2,” he said.
Mitchell Starc’s absence will undoubtedly be a big blow for the pacers, but the former pacer feels that the team shouldn’t rue about his absence and it is an opportunity for the youngsters to step up and make it count.
“Starc is Australia's premier fast bowler in ODIs. It's unfortunate that he is not part of the series. But I feel the others can do the job. I don't expect Cummins to play every ODI. Maybe two-three out of the five. Coulter-Nile could play as many games as possible. I know the selectors think highly of Coulter-Nile because he bowls fast and hits the pitch hard. Hopefully he can perform well in India,” he said.
But Gillespie is quick to reiterate that it is the Indian bowling attack which has the edge in the upcoming challenge.
“The Indian attack has the edge. The Indian seamers, Shami, Yadav, Bhuvneshwar, Jasprit Bumrah, adapt well to the surfaces in India. It appears to me that they have clear plans and are embracing the challenge of bowling on flat surfaces. I'm sure the Aussies too will go in with similar attitude and they will not think that they will be belted around. Attitude is everything with regards to bowling in Indian conditions,” he signed off.