Australian fast bowler Josh Hazlewood reckons that the Indian batting might be the best in the world but can be tamed if their captain Virat Kohli is kept under control.
Kohli always has found Australia to be one of his favourite hunting grounds, had scored 692 runs in India’s previous assignment in Australia. Hazlewood said that the prolific run-scorer would once again be at his best when the Test series gets underway on December 6.
“I see the Indian line-up as the best in the world, if not right up there, led by Virat and I think they feed a lot off him and how he goes about things,” said Hazlewood as quoted by Sportstar Live.
“They’ve played a lot at home since we played them last in Australia. They toured England and South Africa, and it was only Virat who stood out. A lot of the other [batsmen] haven’t scored too many of the runs,” he added.
The speedster said that his team would have some, “options” in place for the talismanic batsman.
“I think we’ll obviously have a chat about him before the game starts. We’ll come up with a couple of options. It’s about what conditions suit, with a player of that calibre you need a few options,” he said.
The 27-year old cleared things when he said that sledging doesn’t figure in those plans. “Virat obviously thrives on that sort of stuff. It gets him going and he probably plays his best cricket when he’s doing that. It’s up to the individual — if it’s a bowler or a fielder. I am usually pretty quiet when I am bowling,” he added.
Hazlewood felt that the contest between his team and India would be an “even contest” despite the absence of Steve Smith and David Warner.
“I think it’s pretty even. They’re obviously [the] No. 1 Test team in the world but we play some good cricket at home. So I think it’s very even heading this,” he said.
On the first Test, the right-arm quick bowler felt that getting early breakthroughs would be crucial for their success in Adelaide.
He said, “If we can make some early inroads in this first Test, it’s always crucial and the first innings. If we can get on top of them early, hopefully, that will filter through the rest of the Test.”
Hazlewood further emphasised on the role of Nathan Lyon for the fact that he can bowl long spells which would buy the three pacers some time to recuperate themselves.
“He’s the key for me. With the four of us, you have Pat who bowls shorter spells and sometimes [Mitchell] Starc, too. So to have Lyon, it even worked well two weeks ago when we played the Shield game. He pretty much bowled from one end after the new ball and we filtered through from the other end,” he stated.