World Cup

Kohli’s brilliance earned him the respect of the Aussies: Sriram

A consultant for the Australian team, along with Michael Hussey, in the ICC World Twenty20, S. Sriram provided a fascinating insider’s account of the gripping clash in Mohali in an exclusive chat with The Hindu .

He believes India is the favourite for the title. “Before the match (against India), the talk in the Aussie dressing room was whoever won that league game would go on to win the cup. India will be hard to beat from this point, having found momentum and confidence.”

The former India cricketer recalled the vibrant clash. “I was sitting next to Hussey in the dugout. And the talk was we had to somehow get Kohli. Despite the early wickets, we knew he was the main man.”

Sriram said Kohli’s brilliance earned him the respect of the Aussies. “Although the Aussies were disappointed, there was great admiration for Kohli. In fact, captain Steve Smith said to his men, “We can emulate the way Kohli soaked up the pressure and the manner in which he paced the innings on the chase despite India losing wickets.’”

“It was a very clever innings. The boundary on one side of the ground (on the leg-side) was long and Kohli placed the ball in that area and ran the twos incredibly hard. And he attacked the other side of the ground where the boundary square off the wicket was short.”

“We were denied by the brilliance of one batsman. We were very much in the game till the 16th over. We needed a wicket at that point. The game turned in the last four overs. It was an inspired innings.”

“Smith was extremely disappointed with the decision he got. He was convinced in his mind that he did not edge the ball. It was a vital moment since he is such a fine player of spin. And it was not an easy wicket to bat on. We needed Smith in the middle.”

The Chennai cricketer has a contract that enables Cricket Australia to utilise his services for a minimum of 40 days in 2016. He became the first Indian to be a member of the support staff in the Australian senior cricket team when it visited South Africa for a three-match T20 series this year. Australia came from behind for a 2-1 triumph.

Sriram said, “The Australians are very welcoming and receptive to ideas. Coach Darren Lehmann wants me to constantly communicate with him. Smith is a very good student of the game, willing to learn and listen. Many said Glen Maxwell would be difficult to handle but I got along very well with him. He has an open mind.”

Sriram’s next assignment for Australia will be a tour of Sri Lanka in July this year. Before that, he is looking forward to working under Rahul Dravid in the Delhi Daredevils team during the IPL.

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Printable version | May 27, 2022 9:55:41 pm |