New Delhi: Virat Kohli and Steve Smith are on even keel as far as leadership qualities are concerned according to former Australia skipper Michael Clarke. However, he made it clear that as far as batting is concerned Kohli is better in the ODIs while Smith tops the Test chart.
“Virat is a better ODI batsman but just about that. Smith perhaps is better in longer format,” Clarke stated.
“In terms of captaincy, both are equal and they are improving. At the moment, Virat is on top as his team are winning. But again, irrespective of the number of runs you score, what matters is whether your team are winning matches or not,” said Clarke, who is here as a TV expert for the upcoming five-match ODI series.
Clarke was asked about whether this side, led by Smith, is the weakest to tour India, considering they did not even qualify for the Champions Trophy semifinal. Clarke’s sense of humour came to the fore as he came up with a cheeky response.
“I am silly but I am not that silly to give you a front-page headline for tomorrow’s newspaper!” he answered with a wry smile as everyone had a good laugh.
On a serious note, he said: “Obviously, this is an opportunity for this Australian side to translate their potential into consistent performance. This team need to back their talent as there’s enough of it in the squad.”
Clarke said premier fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, who are currently recuperating from injuries, would be missed by Australia. “No doubt about that… they are our two main bowlers,” Clarke asserted.
Former India batsman VVS Laxman who also was present at the event said that he does not see anything unusual in Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja being rested from the upcoming series. “The selection panel must have communicated the decision to rest them,” Laxman said.
“I sincerely believe that Ashwin and Jadeja have been communicated by the selectors. The selectors must have told them that they want to try two wrist spinners, who are very talented. They will get to play against a top quality side like Australia . Also it doesn’t mean that Ashwin and Jadeja have been dropped,” Laxman tried to explain his viewpoint.
For him, Hardik Pandya is the find of the season who will take on the mantle of the finisher from the likes of Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni. “I am very happy how Hardik is taking a lot of burden. It’s a tough role to be a finisher but he can play that role,” Laxman said.
Press Trust of India