India tour of Australia – Aussies Masterplan for Virat Kohli : Virat Kohli will be a man to hunt for Aaron Finch and army when Australia take on India in a full-fledged series starting November 27. Aussies are devising a plan to tackle the Indian skipper, who if clicks, can single-handedly win games for India.
Marcus Stoinis in an interview had said that Australia has come up with a strategy to keep the charismatic batsman quiet. “We’ve got our strategies (against him), had things that have worked in the past, but other times the plans haven’t worked and he’s made some runs … hopefully things land on our side of the court (this summer),” he added.
Two most devastating strategies which have worked against Kohli in the past are either to attack the stump or lure him out for a drive. However, it has rarely been a case where King Kohli has had to successive bad matches for India.
With flatter tracks and more batting-friendly pitch in Australia, Justin Langer and Aaron Finch will have to come up with a new masterplan to fight a new battle.
Plan 1: Attack the stumps
Kohli will only be playing the first Test which begins on December 17. Attacking the stumps might be the best-suited approach for the day/night Test in Adelaide due to the need for more grass coverage for the pink ball.
“If there’s a bit in the wicket you can go a bit straighter, attack the stumps and get those lb’s and bowleds if it’s nipping around on the wicket,” Hazlewood said. “The flatter the wicket, again you could bowl straight with straight fields or go away from the stumps with an off-side field.”
Plan 2: The Adam Zampa effect
Leg-spin has always been a big weakness of Kohli, especially when he is fresh on the pitch in the shorter format. During the Tom Moody days at Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), Rashid Khan’s googly’s were the silver bullet to the Indian skipper. According to Cricinfo, the Afghanistan spinner’s record against Kohli was 18 runs from 19 balls for one dismissal.
It might not look good when read plainly but scratch the surface, the reality would unveil itself. Khan has been able to constantly be on the attacking front, which keeps Kohli on the edge.
For Australia, that man could be the Indian captain’s Indian Premier League teammate Adam Zampa. And why not. Only three men have dismissed him more at international level.
“That might be an option for us – Zamps, who has done well against him in white-ball cricket,” Hazlewood says, reported Sydney Morning Herald. “I reckon he’ll get first crack most of the time.”
Though Kohli has a strong preference for spin to seam bowling, to say he has a weakness against pace is a stretch – he averages 46, 58 and nearly 50 in Tests, ODIs and T20s, according to numbers from Opta, the official data supplier to Cricket Australia, the ICC and other international boards.
Kohli flaunts a superior average and strike rate against spinners in ODIs and Test but has struggled in the T20Is. In the shortest format of the fame his scoring rate is slower by 16 runs per 100 balls.
While teams have not been very successful by deploying leg-spin against Kohli, Zampa has been an exception.
The Aussie has claimed his wicket five times. Since 2019, Kohli averages 155.5 to offies, and 454 against left-arm spinners. However he has averaged just 52 facing leggies. The difference can chiefly be attributed to the Zampa effect
Plan 3: Change of pace — The Trump card in Aaron Finch’s arsenal
For non-cricket fanatics, Sandeep Sharma might be an alien. But google him and you are likely to find some amazing stats about him. One of which is that he has dismissed Kohli seven times in IPL at an average of just over 10.
Able to bowl 125 km/h “on a good day”, Moody says, Sharma’s strengths are his canny changes of pace and ability to bring the ball back into Kohli.
If used properly, this will do wonders in the limited-overs format for Australia, where batsmen are dictated to by the need to score.
It would be interesting to see, who Aaron Finch brings in to replicate Sharma against Kohli. The closest to the Indian bowler was Kane Richardson, who withdrew for personal reasons.
Aaron Finch will want to get all his plans in place for Kohli, especially after analysing the tits-and-bits of the Indian batsman at Royal Challengers Bangalore camp. However, he will also have to be careful that he does not neglect the likes of KL Rahul, and Shikhar Dhawan who if given the room can prove lethal against the Aussies.