‘I expect you to win in Australia’: Sourav Ganguly to Virat Kohli
India’s tour to Australia is still a few months away and the excitement has already reached its peak. Virat Kohli-led Indian team is slated to travel to Australia this October for three-match T20I series. The two teams will later clash in 4 Test-match series and three ODI series as well with the first to be played at The Gabba from December 3. The last time Kohli’s team visited Australia, they scripted history as India won the series 2-1, becoming the first Asian nation to win a Test series in the country.
But this year, things could turn out to be different with former skipper and vice-captain Steve Smith and David Warner returning to the team. In the past couple of years, Australia have also managed to figure their strengths and weaknesses out, and look like a strong unit under coach Justin Langer.
But, none of the above factors concerns BCCI President Sourav Ganguly. The former India captain revealed that he has already spoken to Kohli about the series and told him that he expects him to win in Australia this year as well.
“I have said that to Virat also,” Ganguly told India Today in an interview. “I said, ‘because you’re Virat Kohli, your standards are high. When you walk to play, when you walk with your team, I, watching on TV, don’t expect you to just play well against Australia. I expect you to win.”
“So for me, that is what it is. Because you have set the standards. It’s not anybody else. So you have to live up to the standards’,” Ganguly further added.
Ganguly further said that he has been in touch with Kohli and is constantly speaking to the team on fitness levels amid the ongoing global pandemic. “I have been in touch with him [Kohli], telling him, ‘you have got to stay fit.’ You haven’t played cricket for six months, you don’t want your fast bowlers to come back and get injured. They have been training, [but] training and playing cricket is different,” he said.
“You have got to make sure your best bowlers are ready for the tour and fit. Whether it’s Shami, whether it’s [Jasprit] Bumrah, whether it’s Ishant [Sharma], whether it’s [Hardik] Pandya, they have to be at the top of their match fitness when they land in Australia,” Ganguly further added.
Speaking about the series, Ganguly acknowledged that it will be a tough encounter but maintained that he has faith in the team’s ability to register the win. “It’s going to be a tough series,” he said. “It’s not going to be what it was in 2018 when they went. It’s going to be a strong Australia but our team is as good. We have the batting, we have the bowling.
“Absolutely [hopeful of the team]. We just got to bat better. You know the best teams overseas, they bat well. When we were so successful away from home, in England, in Australia and in Pakistan, we were getting 400, 500 and 600 in Test matches,” he further added.