Australia will not allow Kohli to dominate: John Buchanan
"I think the Australians know how to bowl to Kohli" - John Buchanan. (Getty Image)

Former coach John Buchanan feels Australia’s bowlers will not allow Virat Kohli to dominate the four-Test series, starting December 6 in Adelaide. Buchanan, who coached Australia between 1999 and 2007, and under whom the team went on to being crowned World Champions thrice, in an interview with Times of India, reckons the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Down Under will be extremely competitive affair, and with the kind of pace attack Australia possess, it will make life tough for the Indian captain.

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The last time India toured Australia, Kohli compiled 692 runs with four centuries, two of which came in the same match. And with a successful England series behind him, where he amassed 593 runs from five games. Buchanan, however, feels Australia will bowl tight and disciplined to Kohli.

“As far as batting is concerned, Australia don’t have a batsman of Virat Kohli’s calibre. But the Australians will bowl well to Kohli and I don’t think he will be able to dominate the series,” Buchanan said. “Kohli likes to get bat on ball very early. Therefore, a left-arm pacer like Starc will look to bowl away from him and get Kohli to chase the ball. I think the Australians know how to bowl to Kohli and it’s about whether or not they can execute their plans. Having said that, Kohli is an outstanding player who has the ability to negate Australia’s tactics.

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“I see it as a very close series. While Australia are weakened, India’s record away from home is not very good — like every touring team right now. That automatically gives the home team an advantage. On top of that, Australia have a better bowling attack for home conditions. I feel the likes of Shaun Marsh and Usman Khawaja will contribute sufficiently to enable Australia to win the series.”

The build-up to the series has been one filled with opinions from various former greats. But the one thing that has been common is that not many have given Australia much of a chance. Spin wizard Shane Warne believes India are the favourites, whereas World Cup winning captain Michael Clarke feels Australia will have to “toughen up” if they want to win the series. Another former Australia captain, Kim Hughes, feels this is the weakest Australian line-up and a strong India have a shot at history.

Buchanan dismissed the concept of Australia being weak. “Well, it certainly is one of the best bowling attacks Australia have fielded in their history. Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon form an impressive line-up. The attack has a lot of variety. I think the Australian batsmen have been inconsistent and are not playing with a lot of confidence. It makes them vulnerable but I don’t see it as the weakest line-up.” he said.

But while Buchanan was high on praise for the Aussies, he acknowledged the quality of their Indian counterparts. India’s pace attack comprises Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav, and as per Buchanan, each bowler has the capability of troubling the Australian batting unit, which is without Steve Smith and David Warner.

“The Indian attack has fine pacers in Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. They are accurate and can swing the ball. Any modern-day batting line-up finds it difficult to play the swinging ball. In Bhuvi, Mohammed Shami and Bumrah, India have the right blend of pacers to trouble the Australian batting line-up. But I still feel Australia have the edge at the moment,” he said.