Virat Kohli has heaped praise on India’s new-ball pair of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah terming himself a “lucky captain” to be able to avail services of both pacers.
“The reason why Bhuvi and Bumrah have been so good is because they are thinking bowlers and they understand the situation and they get a gut feel of what the batsman is looking to do before they bowl,” said Kohli ahead of India’s first T20I against Australia in Brisbane.
“The ability to predict what is going to happen on each ball is what keeps them one step ahead of the batsman most of the times. I think that has been their strength and any captain will love to have both of them in their bowling attack and I have obviously been very lucky to have both of them bowling so well for the team and giving us the breakthroughs as well and in difficult situations at the death coming in and executing what we want them to do.”
Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah have been a revelation for Team India in all three formats of the game and have excelled in each other’s company.
It is no secret that the duo love bowling as a pair and the chemistry is visible even off the field where they are constantly seen in each other’s ears discussing the facets of the game and how to improve on it.
It is their success that has given the team management a difficult time in getting other quicks into the side and with the ODI World Cup just a few months away Kohli said that it would get tougher even more so now.
“Sometimes they will get dominated like everyone does but I think 85-90% of the times they are spot on and that is because they are always looking at how the game is going, how the batsmen are batting, what areas they are hitting at and what are the balls that they need to execute in difficult situations,” said Kohli.
“From now on it is going to be much more difficult for others to sort of step in unless there is some workload issue because till the World Cup we want our XI to play together to play as long as possible as there are not many games left.”
The first T20I between India and Australia is all set to get underway on November 21st. The two teams will play three 20-over games before facing off in the much-anticipated four-match Test series from December 6 in Adelaide.
The fortunes of both sides have been poles apart in the last few months. While India are coming off crushing series wins over the Windies in all three formats, Australia are still reeling from the ball-tampering scandal that rocked the nation in March. They have lost 18 of their last 19 ODIs and recently went down to South Africa in the lone T20I at home as well.
While Kohli admitted missing two of their best batsmen in Steve Smith and David Warner, who are still serving their bans is not going to be easy for the hosts, he had no fuss in admitting that defeating Australia in Australia will not be an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.
“To be honest, they still have world-class cricketers,” quipped Kohli. “Obviously missing two of their best batsmen is not an ideal thing for any team but even then they have guys, especially in the limited-overs game, who can do damage at any given point of time and you can never underestimate any side.
“We have come here to compete against Australia, they are the home team and we definitely will not take anything for granted here regardless of any kind of situation that is present our focus as a team is to play good quality cricket and win games.
“I have always believed that as much as you have so much of experience of playing at this level, still new-comers can come in and make an impact as long as they believe they can. When you step on the field, everyone has an equal opportunity of upsetting any opposition and having their day with the ball, bat or in the field and the Australian team is more than capable of doing that on even after losing their quality batsmen. We definitely will have to be at our absolute best to win against Australia in Australia.”
India will not have a better shot at rewriting history in Australia where they have failed to win a Test series in the past 11 occasions. The last time they were here for a Test series was in 2014-15 which India lost 2-0.
They have had a poor overseas record and yet again came up short in Test series against South Africa and England earlier this year. However, Kohli insisted that his side had rectified the “radical” errors they made in the past in the England series and hoped they would put up a better show this time around Down Under.
“We figured out our mistakes in England which I mentioned before were very radical, the quality of cricket was very high but our mistakes were as radical and that is why we lost the games,” said Kohli. “Whatever series we play our aim is to win that series, we don't want to be a team that wins one-odd Test match here and there.”
“Australia is a big tour four any Indian side that comes here. We played good cricket last time but we were not able to win games. This time around we definitely want to change that and any team should be winning to win Test matches and test series and we definitely believe we have the quality to do so but it'll boil down to how we think in every test match that we play or every game that we play on this tour.
“Our limited-overs form has been good, we just want to continue that and as a whole, throughout the tour, we want to do the little things right and have our focus really precise so that we can win more situations than the opposition.”