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India vs Australia: Virat Kohli and Steve Smith Are Not Here to Celebrate Friendship: Laxman

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: September 12, 2017, 3:43 PM IST
India vs Australia: Virat Kohli and Steve Smith Are Not Here to Celebrate Friendship: Laxman

Kohli and Smith in action. (Getty Images)

New Delhi: They might be one of the best in the business when it comes to the batting crease, but India skipper Virat Kohli and Australia skipper Steve Smith are not really the best of friends. They love to take the game by the scruff of the neck and not put the foot off the pedal.

And former India batsman VVS Laxman feels that there is no need for the two to be friends as they are here to compete and not make friends.

"This is absolutely the no.1 rivalry. Both teams will fight hard and it won't be any different this season. None of us gave the Aussies a chance in the Test series, but they were most competitive. Coming to Kohli and Smith, they are modern day greats. The impact they have had at the international level is exemplary. On field you mean business and you don't need to be friends. They will be aggressive and will go all out. That is the way it should be because it is a competition and there is no friendship. They are highly competitive," he clarified.

Asked if this series would actually see the start of the preparations for the 2019 World Cup, Laxman begged to differ. "I believe the roadmap is already in place and experimentation has started already as was seen during the Sri Lanka series. The role of finisher is being fulfilled by Hardik Pandya."

Laxman is mighty impressed with Kohli's captaincy and feels that the positive attitude of the skipper actually rubs off on the other players and that has helped this Indian team become the dominating force that they have become in the last year.

"The way Kohli leads the team, he is positive and proactive. He is ruthless in his approach and this team is looking to improve on its own and not looking at the opposition. These guys wish to execute their own goals. I don't see any weak link in this Indian team," he said.

Comparisons between Kohli and Smith are inevitable, and Laxman makes no bones about the fact that he feels Kohli is a better captain. "Virat is a better captain and while they are both young, Smith wasn't very proactive during the Test series. Virat also has the advantage of having someone like MS Dhoni in the team. Kohli leads by example and is the better skipper than Smith at the moment," he said.

Laxman is also pleased with the way the Indian players have returned to the team post injury breaks. "I am really impressed with the comeback that Dhawan made. Rohit has been equally impressive coming back from injury. But the player who has impressed me the most is Hardik. He is exciting and is fulfilling the role of a finisher to the tee. If only he can get a bit more consistent with the bowling," he said.

Asked to take a guess on the scoreline, Laxman said: "4-1 to India because the Australian bowling department looks very weak. The spinners are inexperienced and that is where the Indians will have an upper hand. But yes on the field, it is about which team does better on the day."

Laxman also is not too keen to look into Ashwin and Jadeja being rested and feels that youngsters do deserve a chance. "The communication channel is very clear. Don't go by the dictionary meaning of rested. Doesn't mean Ashwin is dropped, means youngsters are being given a chance. Two wonderful wrist spinners(cHA and they need to be given an opportunity. Always helps to have a good bench strength," he said.

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First Published: September 12, 2017, 3:43 PM IST

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