Kohli passes on Ashes advice to Aussies
Having mastered the art of scoring runs against the Dukes ball, the India skipper says patience is key for Australia's batsmen in England
Sam Ferris at the SCG
7 January 2019, 07:13 PM AEST
Australia's batsmen must leave their egos at home if they are to have any chance of succeeding in the Ashes on English soil this winter.
That's the blunt message from India captain Virat Kohli, the world's No.1 Test batsman who scored 593 runs in five Tests against England last year.
Australia are set to enter the Ashes, starting at Edgbaston on August 1, with an inexperienced batting order likely to welcome back suspended duo Steve Smith and David Warner, having not won at Test series in England since 2001.
Kohli struggled in his first tour of England in 2014, when he averaged just 13.40, but turned it around in epic fashion last year despite his side going down 4-1 in a captivating series that belies the scoreline.
So there is perhaps no better batsman on the planet than Kohli to explain how to score runs in English conditions against master seam bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
And his message is a simple one.
"If you go out there with an ego, you might as well not go at all," Kohli said.
"Because that Dukes ball, it buries egos pretty quickly.
"You have to curb yourself down and do the hard yards. Grind it out the whole day … you have to be patient as a batsman.
"There’s lot of time in Test cricket. But sometimes we are so nervous as batsmen, we don’t quite realise it.
"You just want to get away quickly but in England you’re not allowed to do that.
"So, you have to buy your time. And you have to earn the right to score runs eventually.
"But you have to get into a position where you should not even look at the scoreboard to see the number of balls.
"It’s inconsequential; patience is the only thing works there and putting runs on the board again is the most important thing to win Test matches."
India coach Ravi Shastri said the lessons India learned in England helped them win their first Test series ever on Australian soil.
"What we learnt is to seize the important moments," Shastri said.
"Going back to the first Test (in Adelaide) when we were 40-4, or 70-4, 80-5, from thereon to reach 250, you know you knew deep down that could have a huge impact on the series.
"Similarly, taking wickets in Melbourne with (fast bowler Jasprit) Bumrah going through that spell when he was hot, and you know taking six wickets on the trot.
"Those are the kind of sessions that could be crucial."
But despite Australia's poor record in England since the turn of the century and their recent troubles since the Ashes 12 months ago, Shastri believes Tim Paine's men can succeed if they believe they can.
"I think they’ll up to the challenge," he said.
"I think Australia has to be patient because in England that Dukes ball will curve around corners.
"So you got to be patient, you got to trust your technique, trust that off-stump and it’s again belief.
"Because you got the (bowling) attack.
"If anyone tells me that this Australian attack is you know like (shakes his hands) not quite there, put your pads on and go and play them, you will find out."
Domain Test Series v India
Dec 6-10: India won by 31 runs
Dec 14-18: Australia won by 146 runs
Dec 26-30: India won by 137 runs
Jan 3-7: Match Drawn
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c, wk), Josh Hazlewood (vc), Mitch Marsh (vc), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc
India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant (wk), Parthiv Patel (wk), Ravi Ashwin, Ravi Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar