Domain Tests v India
Paine backs quicks to trouble Kohli
Aussie skipper believes his fast men will cause India's talisman plenty of problems through the Border-Gavaskar series
2 December 2018, 01:11 PM AEST
Captain Tim Paine has urged his fast bowlers to not get "too emotional" in their battle with Indian skipper Virat Kohli this summer, saying his star quicks can challenge the world's top-ranked Test batsman on skill alone.
The famously combative Kohli has declared he won't be looking for any fights over the coming weeks in what will be India's first Test clash with Australia since a tempestuous Border-Gavaskar series last year.
The Indian superstar's two previous Test tours of Australia have been marked by five magnificent centuries – including three in Adelaide, the venue for the first Test – and a willingness to take on the hosts verbally as well as with bat in hand.
Paine concedes his gun pace attack of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins are likely to get hot under the collar at times during the series, but he's confident they can get the better of Kohli without getting dragged into a verbal confrontation.
"I think our fast bowling attack … if they play purely on skill, they're going to trouble him," Paine told cricket.com.au.
"At times when we get too emotional, we can lose our way a little bit. So it's a really fine line.
"There's going to be times when they're going to get a bit fiery, I'm sure. But we need to be mindful of keeping ourselves calm enough so we can execute our skills as well."
Speaking just before arriving in Australia a fortnight ago, Kohli declared he was a changed man and said any fireworks during the four-match Domain Test Series won't be started by him.
"If they (Australia) want to play a certain way, we will reciprocate," Kohli said.
"So long as it doesn't start, we have no problem just focusing on our game and doing what we need to do.
"On a personal level, I don't find the need to go and find these things anymore."
The recent release of reviews into the culture of both Cricket Australia and the men's team, and the newly-created players' pact that came as a result, means on-field behaviour will be in sharp focus this summer.
Paine and coach Justin Langer have led the way in revamping Australia's on-field persona in recent months, the pair denying that their players will be silent on the field but stressing, in Langer's words, that "there's a difference between banter and abuse".
The subject of team culture has come under an intense spotlight in recent days, with Langer's former teammates Michael Clarke, Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich among those airing their opinions.
Paine said it will be up to his players individually to decide whether or not they want to engage with Kohli and the other Indian players during the series, and he's backing them to not take matters too far if they decide to do so.
"He's certainly someone who, from what I've seen, enjoys getting into that sort of stuff," Paine said of Kohli.
"We'll just play it by ear; if there's a time when we think we need to have a word with him, I'm sure we will. If there's other times when we feel like we're bowling well against him and are troubling him, then you don't have to do it.
"It's just about picking your time and picking your moment and doing what the team requires.
"I think it's important that guys play the way that suits them. If you're someone who likes to get into a contest one-on-one with someone like Virat, then go for your life.
"But I don't think it needs to be over the top and I don't think guys who aren't normally like that need to start doing it."
Kohli averages 62 in eight previous Tests in Australia but managed just 46 runs in three Tests when the two sides met in India last year.
Domain Test Series v India
Dec 6-10: First Test, Adelaide Oval
Dec 14-18: Second Test, Perth Stadium
Dec 26-30: Third Test, MCG
Jan 3-7: Fourth Test, SCG
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c, wk), Josh Hazlewood (vc), Mitch Marsh (vc), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Chris Tremain
India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, 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