The News Sports Desk:Steve Smith reckons that keeping home captain Virat Kohli “quiet” would be key for Australia in the upcoming ODI series against India and promised that the contest will be played in “good spirit”.
Kohli is in red-hot form as he was the highest run-getter in the five-match series against Sri Lanka with a tally of 330 runs, which included two centuries and a fifty.
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The Indian captain recorded his 30th ODI century during his splendid batting show in the Island nation, equalling Australian great Ricky Ponting’s record.
Smith, who has eight ODI centuries, said he was not too concerned about the gulf between him and the home captain but to be successful in in this series, they will have to get Kohli out cheaply.
“I am not too concerned about the differences with Kohli. He is obviously a very good player and has a phenomenal ODI record. Hopefully, we can keep him quiet as much as possible in this series. If we do that then hopefully it can go a long way in us having success on this tour,” Smith told reporters after a practice session.
When Australia toured India for a Test series early this year, the Bangalore match got mired into a controversy as Smith admitted to looking towards their dressing room for assistance on a DRS call and described it a “brain fade” moment.
Kohli had accused Smith of ‘cheating’ but the visiting captain promised there won’t be any controversy this time.
“I think it will be played in good spirit. It is a hard-fought contest playing against India. Looking back at the last one-day tour, I wasn’t on it in 2013. It was a big run fest from memory. Pretty flat wickets and big totals. We will see what we are presented with and it could be the same again.”
India chose to rest leading spinners R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja but Smith said the hosts still have a potent spin attack.
“This is a completely different format compared to Test cricket. Axar Patel has done well pretty well for them. (Yuzvendra) Chahal is in the squad as well. Kuldeep Yadav is a good bowler too. They certainly have some good spin options and we have got to play them really well throughout the series,” Smith said.
“I think the One-day group has played spin pretty well for a little while. Obviously, we are still learning in the Test format and trying to improve. We are coming from a challenging tour of Bangladesh.
“Obviously the guys are learning and trying to improve. Not sure that the ODI wickets will present quite as much as spin perhaps as some of the Test wickets. We have to wait and see and adapt to the conditions accordingly.”
Smith also revealed that it was pre-planned that coach Darren Lehmann will leave for home after the Bangladesh tour.
“There are no issues. We will be fine. David Saker has been with us for a while now. It was announced about six months ago that Darren was going to take rest from this series and Saker was going to take over.”
Smith also hoped that leg-spinner Adam Zampa would do well for them in the series.
“I hope so, he has got a pretty good record for us in the last year or two. He has got some experience playing in the IPL. We know what to expect from Zamps. If he gets his opportunity, he can hopefully have some success on this tour.”
Asked if playing an ODI series was ideal preparation ahead of the Ashes series, Smith said,” I don’t think there is a problem with that.”
“I know before the last Ashes series there was a one-day series here as well. There is plenty of time when we get back home and play some Shield games also and get ready for the Ashes.”
The skipper also praised former India all-rounder Sridharan Sriram, who works with them as spin consultant.