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Cummins clarifies Kohli comments
Australia quick Pat Cummins says his 'bold' Kohli prediction was more wishful thinking than him targeting the India skipper
19 July 2018, 02:18 PM AEST
Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins has moved to clarify his comments about Indian captain Virat Kohli after they made headlines around the world last week.
In an on-stage interview with veteran broadcaster Bruce McAvaney at the launch of Channel Seven's cricket coverage in Sydney, Cummins was widely quoted as saying: "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".
The comment was viewed as Cummins bravely laying down a challenge to Kohli, but he says the remark was more wishful thinking than him targeting the Indian skipper.
"I was surprised by the traction the comments I made about Virat got," Cummins told cricket.com.au.
"I was almost trying to do the opposite to the way they were perceived. I was trying to pay him a huge compliment and say that my big wish list for the summer was he doesn't score a hundred.
"He's obviously so important to the team and is such a gun batsman, so him not scoring runs would go a long way to helping us win. But I certainly didn't mean to say he's no good because I couldn't hold him in higher regard.
"Bruce McAvaney just asked me what my big prediction was that I'd like to see for the summer. And I just basically said 'I'd love to see Virat Kohli not make a hundred because he's a really good player'.
"The chances are he's going to score a hundred against us again sometime and we'll be doing everything in our power to try and stop that.
"It was just off the cuff. It was a pretty relaxed interview to say I'd love for him not to score runs, like I'd love any international player to not score runs against us."
Cummins said he was shocked by the media storm his comments created, adding India's passionate fans weren't shy in letting their feelings known.
"Obviously you always get a lot of Virat Kohli and Indian cricket team fans on Twitter having their say, but it's all good," he said.
The quick’s comment drew comparisons to the tactics famously employed by Aussie pace ace Glenn McGrath, who used to publicly target the opposition's best batsman and predict a whitewash for Australia at the start of every series.
But Cummins said it was unlikely he and the other Australian bowlers would follow that strategy ahead of the summer.
"Virat's a really passionate player and I'm sure he doesn't need any extra motivation to go out there and put everything into what he does," he said.
"I think we'll leave that be ... I don't think we'll be calling out anyone this summer. We'll just hopefully take plenty of wickets and the other team will hopefully not score many runs.
"He's similar to Steve Smith for us, he really gets himself into the contest and tries to find a way to fire up the bowlers. They seem to use that as a way to get the best out of themselves and I think that feeds off into the other players in the team as well.
"The captain and the best batsman is always the prized wicket and I'm sure it won't be any different this summer."
Kohli, the world's second-ranked Test batsman behind Smith, averages more than 53 in Tests, an average that jumps to 62 from eight Tests in Australia.
Having scored his maiden Test century in Adelaide in 2012, the right-hander scored two more hundreds in Adelaide as well as scores of 169 at the MCG and 147 in Sydney on India's 2014-15 tour to Australia.
But his most recent Test campaign against Australia was one of the least productive of his career, yielding just 46 runs in three games, with Cummins dismissing Kohli for six in his only innings in the third Test in Ranchi.