Adelaide: Australian spectators will not stand up and applaud the incoming Indian batsman when the second wicket falls in the Adelaide Test that begins today.
India's Virat Kohli plays a leg-side shot during a tour match against Derbyshire on the 2014 tour of England. Pic/Getty Images
Instead, they will closely observe the one walking out to bat — Virat Kohli — who has developed quite a reputation. Like Sachin Tendulkar on three of his five Test tours to this country, India's stand-in captain will have the MRF sticker on his blade. And while he is yet to win the hearts of the public Down Under, the expectations of the Australian public and the hype around him, remains the same as Tendulkar. Kohli is the face of the new generation and in a way, the common bond between India and Australia.
When he was here last in 2011-12, he was the only Indian batsman to score a Test hundred. But with a modest average of 39.46 after 29 Tests, he probably doesn't justify his potential or the publicity he receives. He is keen to put the horrific tour of England behind him and look to the future. "It is just two months in my life. I made the mistake of giving too much importance to things that were not in my control.
I don't know why that England series is spoken about. I don't want to remember what happened in England. So, it is all about looking forward to looking ahead," he said. Over the next month, he will confront a bowling attack on par, if not better than one he scored a brilliant 119 and 96 off in South Africa last year. He will have to deal with verbal barrages from the bowlers and the crowd and importantly, let his blade do all the talking.
The ugly pokes outside off-stump will need to be eradicated and be substituted with flowing drives and vicious cuts. In each of his six Test hundreds, over 50% of his runs have been scored through the on-side. The Australian bowlers will know that and they will encourage him to score through his less preferred side. They will to look to wear him down.
Kohli cannot back away from the challenge and he won't. It is not his nature to be defensive. He is an aggressor and plays in the manner that the Australian public will like. As the previous Indian No 4 said, "the best part about playing in Australia is that the crowds are so appreciative even when I walk out to bat and when I get out." If bats to his capabilities, he will carry on the legacy that thrilled Australia when the second Indian wicket fell.
Sachin Tendulkar's Test average at No 4 in Australia