Would be surreal playing against India without crowd, says Warner; Smith hails Kohli - GulfToday

Would be surreal playing against India without crowd, says Warner; Smith hails Kohli


Australia’s Steve Smith praises Indian superstar and on-field rival Virat Kohli as a ‘terrific guy’ and a strong leader who plays hard on the field. File / Agence France-Presse

Australia opener David Warner stated there is no point having a go at Indian skipper Virat Kohli on the field when the two teams meet for a much-anticipated series later this year.

The four Tests of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy will be played at Gabba, Adelaide Oval, MCG and the SCG respectively starting Dec. 3.

Earlier, Australia cricketer Matthew Wade had stated that he would not get into a sledging contest with Kohli during the series and Warner also wants to follow similar protocols.

“Virat Kohli is not a person to be poked and no point poking the bear,” Warner was quoted as saying during India Today’s show Inspiration.

Warner also spoke about the prospect of playing matches behind closed doors and stated it would be surreal playing against Kohli’s troops without the vociferous support on both sides.

“It would be very surreal playing against India without the crowd. I want to be selected and be part of that series,” Warner said.

“Last time we were not bad but we were beaten by a good team and their bowling was relentless.

“Now, India has got the best batting line up and our bowlers will like to target and the Indian crowd will be eager to see that.”

Warner also expressed his readiness for playing in the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) if it ends up taking place instead of the T20 World Cup later this year.

Due to coronavirus pandemic, the fate of the showpiece event in Australia hangs in balance and the BCCI is looking to host the IPL during that window itself.

Kohli is a ‘terrific guy’, says Smith:  Australia’s Steve Smith has hailed Indian superstar and on-field rival Kohli as a “terrific guy” and a strong leader who plays hard on the field.

“I had few conversations with him (Virat) off the field, few messages here and there in recent times just to see how things are going in India,” Smith told Indian broadcaster Star Sports on Saturday.

“He is a terrific guy and we both play hard out on the field.”

After India beat Australia in last year’s World Cup in England, Kohli apologised to Smith for chants of “cheater” from the stands towards the former Australia captain for his role in the ball-tampering scandal that rocked Australia during their 2018 tour of South Africa.

The gesture was surprising because Kohli had once stopped just short of calling Smith a cheat after a Test match in Bangalore in 2017 when the then skipper looked up towards the dressing room for help during an umpire review -- something not permitted under the rules.

“Virat’s gesture in the World Cup to the Indian fans that were giving me and David Warner a little bit of a stick -- I appreciated that and I shared that with him straight up,” said Smith.

“He is a terrific guy and the way he has led the Indian team has been amazing.”

Meanwhile, Interim Cricket Australia chief Nick Hockley says he intends to repair broken relationships and ensure everyone is “pointing in the right direction” again after accepting the top job at the troubled organisation.

The Englishman assumed the hot seat last week after Kevin Roberts resigned barely halfway through his tenure over simmering anger at his handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Roberts laid off most of Cricket Australia’s staff and tried to slash budgets to state bodies and players, arguing revenues would be hit hard by the virus. But there was widespread pushback after it became clear that most of Australia’s home season, including a lucrative Test series against India, was likely to go ahead.


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