Give Kohli ‘silent treatment’ to curb his runs: Du Plessis’ advice to Australia
India captain Virat Kohli (Getty Image)

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has advised the ‘silent treatment’ as perhaps Australia’s best approach to prevent Virat Kohli from scoring runs against them across the four-match Test series. Du Plessis’ South Africa will face Australia in a one-off T20 game on Saturday, after which the home team will play three T20Is against India, followed by the beginning of the first Test in Adelaide on December 6.

Citing India’s tour of South Africa earlier this year as an example – where the Indian captain, despite being India’s highest-scorer, tallied 286 runs in three matches – du Plessis pointed out that players like Kohli love aggression, and that is something that spurs them. Should Australia avoid a scenario of provoking Kohli, there is a strong chance that they might be able to stop him from scoring runs.

“There are guys like that in international cricket (who enjoy the confrontation),” Du Plessis said. “We feel like that when we play against someone like Virat Kohli. He’s a similar character, he wants to get into the fight. There’s one or two guys in each team around the world that we as a team discuss before playing against them. We’re like, ‘better not say too much to him because you’ll get him going’.

“He’s an amazing player. We gave him the silent treatment and he still scored runs in South Africa, but we felt like it was not huge runs – he scored the one hundred there in Centurion when the wicket was slow. So every team will have what they think works – for us, that was silent treatment.”

As a youngster, during his maiden first tour of Australia, Kohli in 2012, was constantly heckled by the crowd in Sydney, after which Kohli infamously showed them the finger. Four years later, Kohli entered a heated altercation with Mitchell Johnson after the former fast bowler inadvertently threw the ball back at Kohli and caught the batsmen on the shoulders. Kohli ended the series with 692 runs at an average of 86.50 with four centuries.

Before India’s departure for Australia, Kohli, during a conference, said that his team will not begin a sledging war, but won’t think twice to fight back if Australia start a war when the marquee series Down Under.

“When it comes to getting engaged in an argument on the field or you are in a fight, as people want to call it excitedly, I’ve been completely okay with playing without an altercation,” Kohli said.

“I am very happy within my own space, so on a personal level, I don’t find the need to go and find these things anymore. I have enough belief in my abilities that I can play without a reason to pump myself up. Those were very immature things I used to feed on in my early days of my career so that I can get pumped up and then I don’t necessarily feel all that pressure.”