India captain Virat Kohli on Wednesday maintained that despite the absence of Steve Smith and David Warner – serving 12-month suspensions – Australia cannot be taken lightly at home.

“You definitely can’t take any side for granted and more so Australia in Australia because regardless of what happened, skill level is still there. So, you have to respect that. At the end of the day, however you talk or behave in a certain manner, it’s your skill level that comes (into play),” Kohli said on the eve of the first Test at Adelaide.

Kohli, eight runs short of reaching 1000 Test runs in Australia, said that Hardik Pandya, currently recuperating from a back injury, will be missed on the tour, but that should not be a burden to the bowling attack.

“Losing the all-rounder obviously has an impact. I mean every side would like to have a fast-bowling all-rounder, which we don’t have right now with Hardik (Pandya) injured. That obviously is a great luxury to have for any side,” he said.

“We don’t so we have to go with best possible combination. Again, the workload on guys who will play in the absence of an all-rounder will be high but that is something that has already been discussed.”

The skipper believes his bowlers – Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah – should treat Pandya’s absence as a challenge. “They (bowlers) should look forward to that and not think of it as a burden or something which is going to be tough. Because at the international level, things are tough,” he said.

“So, we will just have to embrace that and make something out of the resources that we have at present and try to put in the performances that the team expects from the players.”