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Kohli named captain of Cricket Australia’s ODI Team of the Year – but Australian skipper Smith wants Kohli ‘angry’

Melbourne, December 27: Cricket Australia (CA) on Tuesday named India Test skipper Virat Kohli as captain of the board’s One-Day International (ODI) Team of the Year, which also includes another Indian, promising medium pacer Jasprit Bumrah.

Besides the Indian duo, the team comprises of five Australians – David Warner, Steve Smith, Mitchell Marsh, John Hasting and Mitchell Starc; South Africans – Quinton de Kock and Imran Tahir, England’s Jos Buttler and Pakistan’s Babar Azam.

Kohli, who recently guided the Test team to three consecutive series wins against the West Indies, New Zealand and England respectively, has amassed 739 runs from just 10 ODIs played this year.

The Delhi right-hander has smashed three centuries, with 154 being his highest score besides scoring four half centuries in the calendar year.

Bumrah, on the other hand, has impressed one and all with his brilliant performances in his maiden year in international cricket. He has taken 17 wickets from just eight ODIs in 2016.

Cricket Australia’s ODI Team of the Year: Virat Kohli (Captain), Steve Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, John Hasting, Mitchell Starc, Quinton de Kock (wk), Jos Buttler, Imran Tahir, Jasprit Bumrah, Babar Azam.

However, Australian skipper Steve Smith is not willing to give it so easy to Kohli. He wants Aussies to test Kohli’s patience during upcoming India tour.

That includes making his counterpart Virat Kohli “a little bit angry” when they play India at home in the four-match cricket Test series in February.

Smith felt that getting behind Kohli would distract his focus from the game, which according to the Australian will be advantageous for the visitors.

“He is a world-class player and he has, obviously, led the Indian team incredibly well over the last 18 months or so,” Smith said on ABC Grandstand on Monday.

“They have won a lot of games in that time and I think they have played a lot of cricket at home in that time as well. I think he has improved a lot body language wise”.

“He is a very emotional character out on the field, but I think he has improved a lot there”.

“I guess for us as a team it’s trying to get him out of the strong emotional state and try and make him, I guess, a little bit angry and ruffle his feathers and things like that”.

“I think if you can get him in that state then the Indian team can possibly be a little bit vulnerable,” Smith added.

India have been invincible at home stretching their run to 18 matches, with Kohli himself and the world’s top all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin performing incredibly well.

All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, with his slow left-arm spin has become a nightmare for visiting teams in the recent past.

Kohli now averages 60.76 against Australia and has been involved in several heated on-field incidents in previous years.

The Delhi lad became only the fifth player after Michael Clarke, Brendon McCullum, Ricky Ponting and Don Bradman when he hammered 235 in the fourth Test against England in Mumbai to record three double centuries in a calendar year.

Smith, however, conceded that the sub-continent tour will be a tough assignment for the Kangaroos, who are currently playing Pakistan in their own backyard.

“We go there in February and, no doubt, it’s going to be an incredibly difficult tour — going to India always is,” Smith said.

“Four Tests there, it’s a great opportunity for this team, where we are going to be the underdogs going there”.

“It would be fantastic to win a series there and we are going to have to make sure our processes are in order and we play a lot better than we have done in sub-continent conditions,” he added.

India play Australia in the first Test from February 23 in Pune next year.

Raj Kumar

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