Jeff Thomson's advice to Aussies on how to tackle Virat Kohli
Australian fast-bowling great Jeff Thomson has come up with some advice for the touring Pat Cummins-led side ahead of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy: tie-down Virat Kohli, and force him to take more risks at the crease.
Thomson reckons that is the best means for the Australians to restrict Kohli's run-making in the middle and dismiss him cheaply. He believes that the modern-day legend is at his most vulnerable when the runs aren't flowing off his bat.
It would encourage Australia that runs haven't flown off Virat Kohli's bat in Test cricket for three years now. From the beginning of the pandemic times, the right-hander is averaging a measly 26.20 over his previous 20 Tests and 36 innings. He has had a strike rate of just 42.23, which shows that oppositions have managed to curb his scoring range and sustain the pressure on him.
More of that is what Thomson demands from Cummins & company over the looming set of four Tests in India, identifying that as one key aspect in Australia potentially clinching a series win on these shores for the first time in 19 years and four previous attempts.
Thomson's advice for Australia to tackle Kohli
"It is no different to anyone else. If you are bowling to Virat, it’s the same as anybody else. You try to tie him down, and make him uncomfortable. Don’t let him score runs as it is difficult to keep him quiet as he has a such wide range of shots," Thomson said on YouTube show 'Backstage with Boria'.
"Make him take more risks. Get him out of his comfort zone, is easier said than done. (But) good bowlers will be able to do so more often. That’s how you bowl to great batters like Viv Richards, Greg Chappell and Sunny Gavaskar."
Thomson also stressed on the need for Australia to have plan B and C ready for Virat Kohli and don't "back off" if he happens to break through a field-setting or pattern of play with his trademark shots. The idea being not to cave under the imposing presence of Kohli, which could lead to a scenario where the tourists maybe chasing the game all day.
"You can’t back off. You got to use your head. It’s your mental battle against him (Virat). The one who breaks first loses out. You got to be stronger mentally than him to get success. Good players - both batters and bowlers work that out."
"They got to have a Plan B or C and see what happens. Some days it doesn’t work, but if you know you tried your best and did not bowl too many garbage and make him score easy runs, that’s what you can do," Thomson added.