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‘Kohli will bring more aggression’

‘Kohli will bring more aggression’
Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson feels new India Test skipper Virat Kohli’s “in your face” attitude will spill over to his  captaincy and will bring an aggressive approach to the way the Indians play cricket. Kohli and Johnson have had frequent run-ins during the first three matches of the four-Test series, which Australia have already sealed in their favour  after winning the first two Tests and the third being a draw.

“It could be quite interesting because they’re not known for that aggressive type of play. But ever since I’ve seen him play cricket, I’ve always seen him pretty fiery. So he’ll definitely be an aggressive type of captain I think in the way he sets fields, and I think you’ll see a lot different to what M S did. He is a  fierce competitor and he really does like to get involved in it all,” Johnson said.

Johnson said Kohli’s approach hardly changes irrespective of who the opponents are. “It doesn’t matter who he plays against, he plays in your face and that is how he likes to play the game. Virat’s just been telling us how many runs he’s scored and we’ve just been saying we’re two-nil up in the series so that’s pretty much it. It’s always been part of the game and always will be,” said Johnson.

The seamer, meanwhile, said he was forced to cut down on his pace due to longer stints he was asked to bowl against India but is now keen to go back to his shorter spells, similar to those he fired down at England last summer. Except for an influential spell on the final morning of the Gabba Test, Johnson has not been up to the mark so far in the ongoing series against India, and also had to reduce his pace by around 10km/h than what England and South Africa were subjected to. Key to his high speed were the short bursts of around three overs that Michael Clarke kept Johnson fresh for.

“I’ve been bowling longer spells. That’s been at the back of my mind where I know I’m going to be bowling four, five, six over spells that I can’t be flat out every ball. It has dropped off a little bit,” Johnson insisted.

There have been a number of longer spells this season for Johnson, who had to reduce his pace in an effort to maintain his energy levels. But now he is  adamant to take it up with skipper Steven Smith and coach Darren Lehmann. “It’s been a big 15 months as well so it’s tough cricket. We go out there day in and day out and we work really hard and to be able to bowl 150 every game. I’d be dreaming if I could do that. But I’d like to be  going back to bowling shorter spells again. Hopefully I can do that in this (Sydney) Test. At the moment I’m just doing what the team needs me to do and that’s bowling those longer spells,” Johnson explained.

“I’ll speak to Steve Smith and Darren Lehmann and see if we can go back to those three over sharp spells because I think that worked really well for us in the past. But that’s just me speaking. They might want me to bowl those longer spells again. Be happier with me bowling an average of me bowling 140  again, and occasionally get it up there as well,” he added.

The pitches for the Tests have been by and large more amenable to batsmen than they were for England, lacking the sort of pace and bounce that promotes batting collapses, and that’s probably the reason why Smith and Lehmann chose to use Johnson differently. Besides this, dropping of Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris’ creaking body have been other reasons behind Johnson being asked to do more draining shifts at the bowling crease. 

On-field aggression: Richards bakcs virat

Virat Kohli has got a new admirer for his on-field aggression in none other than legendary West Indian batsman Vivian Richards who described the new captain as one of those very few Indian cricketers who do not shy away from having a verbal fight with opposition players. Kohli has frustrated Australia during the first three Tests of the Border-Gavaskar trophy, smashing 499 runs, including three centuries, at an average of 83.2, while also having some run-ins with a few Australian players.

“I love that man. People have got to understand that this game has changed quite a bit. Regardless of how good you are, you’re going to have guys coming at you. You’re going to have stuff being said. As long as it’s said in the best of manners, I don’t think it’s going to be too disruptive to that particular individual. When you have that sort of stuff, to me it always brings the best out of any individual. If you are up with your game and ahead of your game, for some reason you can respond. A little confrontation sometimes helps the game in a big way,” Richards told 3AW radio station.

“Some of the past Indian teams would have crumbled with some of the stuff that’s been said. But Virat Kohli is one of those modern-day players who’s a little bull-terrier in his own right,” Richards added.
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