Virat Kohli Pat Cummins Glenn McGrath India Australia 2018
Virat Kohli scored four hundreds on his last tour of Australia © Getty Images (file photo)

India’s Test tour of Australia does not start until December 6, but already one key member of the home team’s pace attack has started the verbal sparring, making a “brave, bold prediction” about Indian captain Virat Kohli. In Australian quick Pat Cummins’ estimation, Kohli will not score a century in the four-Test series either side of the new year as the home team target a 4-0 sweep of the No 1 ranked side.

“My brave, bold prediction; I’d say I think Virat Kohli is not going to get a hundred and we’re going to knock them off over here,” Cummins said during a Channel 7 function in Sydney on Tuesday.

Kohli’s batting average after 16 Test innings in Australia stands at a superb 62, courtesy 992 runs with 5 centuries and 2 fifties. During his first tour there in 2011, he was India’s leading run-getter with 300, scoring his maiden century. Three Australian summers later, a far more confident and well-honed Kohli racked up an India-record 692 runs at 86.60, which included 4 centuries, 2 of which came in an engaging series opener in Adelaide when he led in the absence of MS Dhoni.

Since taking over the Test captaincy from Dhoni in January 2015, Kohli has scored runs in all countries except England, where he will lead India in a five-Test series starting next month. His worst series, barring the five-match tour of England in 2014, was last year at home against Australia when he managed just 46 runs in three Tests.

Retired Australian great Glenn McGrath, during the same event in Sydney on Tuesday, backed the home team to dish out another 4-0 defeat to India — who in 11 prior trips to Australia have failed to win a Test series — when they tour later this year, and urged the Australian quicks to rattle Kohli.

“I want to see Australians put pressure on Kohli and just see how he handles it,” said McGrath, Australia’s all-time leading fast bowler. “It’s going to be a good, hard, tough series. Kohli has got a bit of an aggressive attitude, but showed last time he was out here he’s not going to take a backward step.

“The Windies of the late 70s, early 80s were an incredible team and they used to target the captain of the opposition team and get on top of him and have a big impact. I tried to bring that in by targeting players when I played. If you get on top of them, the No.1 player and their captain, it makes the job so much easier. If they can get on top of Kohli I think it can have a big effect on the game,” said the 48-year-old, who took 51 wickets in 11 Tests against India during his legendary career.