Don’t want to engage with ‘clever’ Kohli on the field, says Wade

Australia wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade feels engaging with Virat Kohli on the field only gets the better out of him and that is why he will try and refrain from trying to get under the India skipper’s skin when the two teams clash later this year.

India, under Kohli in the 2018/19 series, became the first Asian side to beat Australia in a Test series in their own den. The series featured stellar performances from batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant and Kohli and the fast bowling battery featuring Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma.

The four Tests of this year’s much-anticipated Border-Gavaskar are scheduled to be played at Gabba, Adelaide Oval, MCG and the SCG respectively starting December 3.

Wade, who wasn’t part of the Australia squad that conceded the Test series last time India toured Down Under, also stated that couple of players in the Indian dressing room thrive off confrontation energy on the field and make it work in the team’s favour.

“I’ll go out and play the way I like to play. We certainly don’t go out chasing it. If it comes our way then you deal with it out on the field,” Wade told reporters via video conference as per ESPNcricinfo.

“Virat is very clever in the way he uses his words or his body language, so they (India) use it as an advantage.

“To be honest I don’t want to engage too much into that, I know they thrive off that energy which comes from two (confronting) players. They are probably as good at doing that as anyone in the world at the moment, so it’s something I might stay away from this time,” he added.

Wade also spoke about the prospect of playing matches behind closed doors in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. He stated that players don’t mind it once the game begins but it does feel different while walking out and there is no one present in the stands to cheer them on.

“It’s just the atmosphere and buzz it gives you as a player. To play at Edgbaston with that crowd going in the first Ashes Test is obviously a lot different than playing Bellerive Oval in front of not a lot of people, so it’s just the feeling, the energy you get off the crowd,” Wade said.

“The actual skill – bat versus ball – is pretty much exactly the same.

“I didn’t play (versus New Zealand in SCG ODI) and was only running drinks, but I spoke to the players out there and they said walking out to play was a weird feeling, but once a ball was bowled, it felt like a normal game of cricket which we are used to playing.

“Guys have played hundreds of games of cricket in front of nobody. So they are used to that,” he added.