Virat Kohli has certainly become Australia's No. 1 enemy this summer.Â Hitting with his words as much as he has struck runs from his willow, Kohli has taken on the hosts with ferocity and - what some are calling - a tinge of immaturity. The Australians though now have a plan for India's new captain - pin him down with boring cricket. (Also read: Virat Kohli voted 'biggest sports jerk of the week' in Aussie media poll)
Kohli is the second-highest run-getter (499) from the three Tests played so far. The 26-year-old has hit three hundreds and a fifty - the exact same as his Aussie counterpart Steve Smith, who has scored 581 runs. While his batting may have frustrated the opposition, it is Kohli's verbal duels that have infuriated the hosts. (Also read: Virat Kohli sledging in Australia not a concern, says BCCI)
After the sudden Test retirement of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Kohli will take the reins of the Indian team on a permanent basis - increasing Australia's urgent need to shake him up.
"We'll try to come up with something for Virat, and I think it's just a case of being boring, as bad as it sounds," pacer Josh Hazlewood was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald. "We will just try to 'bore' him down and keep him on strike, keep the dots flowing, build that pressure and hopefully he'll crack." (Related: Virat Kohli's aggression can be counter-productive for India, says Gavaskar)
During the Melbourne Test, Kohli had claimed that he was being constantly sledged and was even called a "spoilt brat" by the Australian fielders. The batsman was even struck on the body when Mitchell Johnson tried to throw the ball back at the stumps while bowling. Not known to back down from a fight, the Delhi player challenged the bowler to hit the wicket instead of him. Kohli would then go on to score 169.
Hazlewood in fact, is sure that Kohli's wicket is the catalyst that would bring about India's batting collapse in the Sydney Test which starts from Tuesday.
"He's performed very well in Adelaide and Melbourne and scored a lot of runs. He's a key wicket for us and I think if we can attack and get him early, everyone else follows suit a bit," said the 23-year-old. "He's the main wicket and if we can get him early it goes a long way towards getting stuck into their team."
Interestingly, the Australian team sees several similarities between Kohli and England's Kevin Pietersen and feel their downfall can be scripted by using their egos against them.
"Yeah I think so," said Hazlewood when asked if the two batsmen had a similar approach to batting. "He (Kohli) likes to score runs and score them pretty freely. If we can tie him down for long periods, then we'll hopefully get a rash shot."