Virat Kohli will return to action when India lock horns with Australia in the first Twenty20 International (T20I) of the two-match series in Visakhapatnam on Sunday. The India captain was rested from the final two One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and the three-match T20I series in New Zealand. With the World Cup 2019 looming, Kohli will be looking finalise the squad ahead of the all-important tournament. Speaking ahead of the first T20I, Virat Kohli singled out Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis as India's biggest threat in the series.
When asked who the biggest threat was in the Australian team, Virat Kohli said: "We obviously expect a stiff competition overall from the Australian team but if I had to single out one player that can make more impact, that would be Marcus Stoinis. He has come around really well during the BBL and he's making stand out performances on a consistent basis. You can see he has grown in confidence and he's definitely going to be a very important player for them."
"A few of the guys have done really well in the BBL. But from the last time that we played, the games were close contests, both of them. One was washed out, but the other two were really exciting games. We obviously expect a stiff competition overall from the Australian team," Kohli added.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) traded middle-order batsman Mandeep Singh to Kings XI Punjab for Australian all-rounder Stoinis during the transfer window.
Stoinis was in a red hot form for his franchise Melbourne Stars in the recently-concluded season of the BBL 2019 (Big Bash League). He scored 533 runs from 13 matches at an excellent average of 53.30 and a strike rate of 130.63.
Stoinis also picked up 11 wickets at an average of 16.14.
Earlier this month, Stoinis had bagged Australia's men's One-day International (ODI) Player of the Year at the 2019 Australian Cricket Awards.
Stoinis polled 30 votes to win the top ODI award ahead of Aaron Finch (22 votes), Shaun Marsh 18, Travis Head (14) and bowlers Billy Stanlake and Andrew Tye who each earned nine votes.