In recent times, Michael Clarke has been in awe of Virat Kohli’s stature as a leader, batsman, and his character. But Virat Kohli’s men have already found themselves under pressure in the ongoing Australian tour, having lost the three-match ODI series comprehensively. With Virat Kohli not available for the full tour, Michael Clarke reckons India should celebrate for a year if they manage to beat Australia down under without their captain.
Australia were ruthless in their batting approach in ODIs, hammering 374 and 389 in the first two games to win by 66 and 51 runs respectively. Before India landed in Australia, Virat Kohli announced his decision to skip the last three Tests down under to take paternity leave. It indeed would put immense pressure on the men in blue who Australia have beaten twice in their home summer. Australia, who are the number one Test team, will want to avenge the series defeat they suffered in 2018-19.
Michael Clarke highlighted that with Virat Kohli fulfilling two roles quite well, the question is who will bat and lead in his place. Clarke praised KL Rahul’s ability to fill in for Virat’s batting spot and backed Ajinkya Rahane to captain the side who he feels is tactically excellent. At the same time, he labelled Kohli as someone who is irreplaceable. Rahane and Rohit Sharma loom as probable options to take over the leadership in Virat Kohli’s absence.
“There are probably two sides to Virat, one is the captaincy part and the other is the batting part. Who is going to bat in place of Virat. KL Rahul is very talented, there is no doubt about it. I think he is experienced, playing in these conditions before. He can do it. But Virat Kohli’s boots can never be filled by anybody. I love Jinx (Rahane). He is a great player. His captaincy is pretty good. Tactically, he is a very good captain and it’s going to be good for India. You have got to see it as an opportunity. You have got to try and create history,” Clarke stated as quoted by India Today.
I think that’s the way Indian players have to look at it: Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke added that India could celebrate for a year if they manage to beat Australia in their backyard without Virat Kohli. The World Cup-winning captain wants the visitors to have the self belief that they are good enough to defeat the men in yellow.
“If India can beat Australia at Australia’s own backyard without Virat Kohli, you can celebrate for a year. That will be an unbelievable win. I think that’s the way Indian players have to look at it. They have to believe they are good enough to take on and beat this Australian team,” the 42-year old added.