Virat Kohli has always enjoyed his verbal battles against Australia © Getty Images
Virat Kohli has always enjoyed his verbal battles against Australia © Getty Images

Jason Gillespie was a vital part of Australia during their golden era. He wasn’t as immaculate as Glenn McGrath or was as express as Brett Lee but Gillespie had his own strengths. He battled injuries to emerge as one of Australia’s finest bowlers and ended up representing in 71 Tests, 97 ODIs and 1 T20I. Gillespie is now a renowned coach, who also had a stint with the Australian side as an assistant coach. Currently, he is the coach of the Papua New Guinea side and in an exclusive interview with Times of India, the 42-year-old advised the Australian team to not engage in “verbal battles” with Indian skipper Virat Kohli and rather focus on “disciplined bowling” to get the better of him. ALSO READ: Dhoni will play 2019 World Cup, confirms Shastri

“Kohli is an amazing player. Once the field spreads, he can bat safely. I don’t think Australia need to get into a verbal battle or get into starting competitions with Kohli,” Gillespie advised.

Australia managed to keep Kohli’s willow quiet during the Test series earlier this year. The visitors lost the Border-Gavaskar Trophy which saw plenty of heated moments. Refraining from those, Gillespie revealed the should-be ploy to tackle Kohli. “The best way to put him under pressure is through disciplined bowling. I would like to see the Aussie quicks bowl bouncers throat-high to get him on the back foot, make him thinking about it. The follow-up ball remains the key. Make him come forward inviting the drive. If there is movement off the wicket or in the air, then the edge comes into play. Maybe they can bowl on the stumps with two catchers on the on-side. It’s about getting him out of his comfort zone,” he added.

India’s bowling attack “better”

Gillespie rued the absence of Australia’s premier ODI bowler Mitchell Starc but feels they have other bowlers who can do the job.

“Starc is Australia’s premier fast bowler in ODIs. It’s unfortunate that he is not part of the series. But I feel the others can do the job. I don’t expect [Pat] Cummins to play every ODI. Maybe two-three out of the five. [Nathan] Coulter-Nile could play as many games as possible. I know the selectors think highly of Coulter-Nile because he bowls fast and hits the pitch hard. Hopefully he can perform well in India,” said Gillespie.

Coulter-Nile was brilliant for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the IPL and Australia will hope that the pacer capitalises on that. However, Gillespie admitted that the Indian bowling attack had the edge and leg-spinner Adam Zampa should play in all the games.

“The Indian attack has the edge. The Indian seamers, [Mohammad] Shami, [Umesh] Yadav, Bhuvneshwar [Kumar], Jasprit Bumrah, adapt well to the surfaces in India. It appears to me that they have clear plans and are embracing the challenge of bowling on flat surfaces. I am sure the Aussies too will go in with similar attitude and they will not think that they will be belted around. Attitude is everything with regards to bowling in Indian conditions,” said Gillespie, who has 33 wickets from 7 Tests in India at 21.72.

Predictions

In a closely contested battle, the Australians lost to India 2-3 in 2013-14 ODI series. However, at home they were dominant and beat India 4-1 in 2016. Most of the Australian cricketers play in the IPL and Gillespie tipped Australia as “favourites” for the ODI series.

“Australians can’t say that they are not used to the conditions. I think what has to be said is that India are an amazing 50-over side. At home, India are almost unbeatable. It is a tough ask for any side. It is going to be a closely-fought series. I feel Australia will win 3-2,” Gillespie predicted.