‘That’s where India will miss Kohli:’ Former Australia coach John Buchanan explains how India captain’s absence will impact the team

Former Australia coach John Buchanan recalled India’s historic Test series win in Australia, saying even though it was Cheteshwar Pujara, who emerged the highest run-scorer for India in the series, captain Virat Kohli’s contributions were equally significant. During India’s famous 2-1 series win in Australia in 2018-19, Pujara had starred with 521 runs in four Tests, including three centuries, while Kohli totalled 282 runs.

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Even though that kind of performance was no where close to the one Kohli had in 2014/15 – where he’d scored 692 runs, Buchanan reckons Kohli was a monumental figure in the series and the India captain’s absence will have an impact on India’s performance in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

“It will definitely be an advantage for Australia because Kohli was one of the dominant players in the last Test series the two teams played,” Buchanan told Times of India. “Of course, Cheteshwar Pujara was the star of the series but Kohli’s presence in the middle was a huge factor in India winning that series. His presence on the field and in the dressing room will be missed by India.”

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During the last week of the IPL, Kohli had touched upon the Australian tour and underlined how the bio-bubble duration should also be counted in the overall duration of the tour. Being in bio-bubbles tends to have an effect – a sort of mental wear down on players – something Kohli had touched upon, and highlighting the same, Buchanan reckons that is where India will miss Kohli the most.

“Kohli has demonstrated in the last few years that he is a mature leader who keeps this Indian team together. Having said that, I am not for a moment suggesting that the ones who would lead in Kohli’s absence can’t do that,” he said.

Kohli will played the three T20Is and ODIs, along with the first Test – a day-night affair at the Adelaide Cricket Ground – before returning to be with wife Anushka Sharma, who is due to give birth to the couple’s first child. Besides Kohli, another factor that will make like somewhat more difficult that the last tour is the return of Steve Smith and David Warner. Warner and Smith had missed the previous Test series against India due to their respective bans, but Australia will give them more than just a chance now that the star batting duo is back.

“When you look at the Australian batting line-up last time to what it will be now – there is a big change. Warner and Smith bring in a lot of experience to this line-up. Marnus Labuschagne has been in great nick and so has the other batsmen, but Warner and Smith give the side a potent look,” Buchanan, Australia’s World Cup winning coach added.

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