Former India cricketer Irfan Pathan feels talismanic batter Virat Kohli can try to be a little more aggressive against the Australian spinners led by Nathan Lyon ahead of the four-match series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy starting from February 9 in Nagpur.
Though Kohli has returned to form in white-ball cricket, he still hasn’t got his mojo back in Test cricket, with his shortcomings against the spinners seen during the series against Bangladesh in December 2022 as well as in the home series against Sri Lanka earlier in the year.
“So, the one thing he will be keeping in his mind is how he’s going to be countering the spin of Lyon as well as Agar. Because he has been struggling against spin specially and I think one thing he can do personally as well is to try and be a little more aggressive because I think the strike rate against spin has come down as well.”
“I know we are talking about Test cricket here, but sometimes he must be slightly more aggressive against spin, it might make you better in that encounter when you’re actually facing guys like Nathan Lyon who is outstanding with his spin, extra bounce and he gets that ball moving away from the right-hander as well. So, I think that’s one thing he should keep in mind,” said Pathan on the ‘Game Plan’ show on Star Sports.
Sanjay Bangar, the former batting coach of the Indian team, is keen to see how fast bowler Mohammed Siraj fares in the series against Australia.
“For me, I mean, yes, we all know about the big stars but maybe Siraj’s bowling, I am really looking forward to seeing Siraj as a Test bowler, because all his performances in Test cricket have come overseas in helpful conditions.”
“He has the phenomenal ability with the new ball and old ball. Can he make a mark? Because if he does well along with Mohammed Shami, then he can open up the game for the Indian spinners.”
Pathan further explained how special the Border-Gavaskar Trophy will be when India and Australia take the field in Nagpur, New Delhi, Dharamshala and Ahmedabad after the 2021 series turned out to be an epic one.
“I think the pressure is there for sure, but it is very exciting playing against Australia, playing against one of the best teams in the world. Because when I played my first game against Australia, in Australia, that was a champion side.”
“But I can’t forget that we won that Test match after 21 years. So, that’s the kind of history you make and you create and it stays with you forever. So, I think those players will be looking to do that as well, looking to be very excited for the challenge which is going to come in front of them.”