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Michael Clarke fires up India fans with cocky Virat Kohli call

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Michael Clarke and Virat Kohli, pictured here on the cricket field.
Michael Clarke says India will get 'smoked' 4-0 unless Virat Kohli inspires success early. Image: Getty

Michael Clarke says Australia will ‘smoke’ India 4-0 this summer unless Virat Kohli makes a statement before his departure back to India.

Kohli will leave Australia after the first Test in Adelaide to be with wife Anushka Sharma for the birth of their first child.

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The India captain will also play in three one-dayers and three T20s before the first Test, which Clarke says are vital for Kohli to inspire his side.

The former Australia captain says India will crumble in the Test matches unless they win the limited-overs series.

“These one-dayers and these Twenty20s is where Virat Kohli can really stand up and lead from the front," Clarke said on Sky Sports Radio on Tuesday.

“I think the tone he sets with this team will play a big role when he leaves after the first Test match.

“If India don’t have success in the one-dayers and the T20s, they are in deep trouble in the Test matches and they’ll get smoked 4-0, in my opinion.”

The bold prediction will no doubt catch the attention of Indian fans, widely regarded as the most passionate in the world.

Clarke also singled out Jasprit Bumrah as the key to India’s success, saying the paceman has the ability to trouble Steve Smith.

“Opening bowler, probably the best short-form bowler in the world at the moment but his success in Test cricket has been exceptional as well,” Clarke said.

“Again, it's not just about the wickets he takes, it's how he bowls. He's got Davey Warner's measure at the moment, he’s got him out a number of times.

“He's quick, he's got a really different action, so I think he needs to set the tone and be really aggressive to the Australian batters.

“Even to someone like Steve Smith, he's got to use that short ball consistently and regularly, like Jofra Archer did to Steve Smith in the Ashes.

“They've got to take the Aussies on and those two players (Kohli and Bumrah) are India's best two players to be aggressive to the Australians.”

Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma, pictured here after winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2019.
Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma celebrate after winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2019. (Photo by Matt King - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images/Getty Images)

India still sweating on stars’ availabilities

Meanwhile, India coach Ravi Shastri fears opener Rohit Sharma and quick Ishant Sharma could miss the Test series if they don’t land in Australia this week.

Both Rohit and Ishant are fighting to prove their fitness ahead of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy back in India.

Rohit injured his hamstring towards the end of the Indian Premier League earlier this month, and wasn't named in the Test squad originally.

The star opener was therefore not on the chartered flight to Australia, but has been adamant he will be fit to play in Adelaide from December 17.

However Shastri said the pure logistics meant if he wasn’t on a plane this week, he would be unable to play in India's final warm-up game from December 11 due to COVID quarantine.

“He's going through some tests at the NCA (national cricket academy) and they're obviously going to decide how long he needs to take a break,” Shastri told ABC Radio.

“But things could get difficult if he's asked to wait for too long, (because) then you're talking of the quarantine again.

“Which might make it really tough for even him to come just in time for the Test series.

“If you are to play in the Test series or any red-ball cricket you need to be in a flight on the next three or four days. If you aren't, it's going to be tough.”

with AAP

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