Backing Virat Kohli to hit the ground running in the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy, former Australia player Michael Hussey has said that the other teams can take the Indian batsman lightly during the tournament at their own peril.
The India skipper, who had scored a record four centuries in the last edition of the Indian Premier League, could not set the tournament on fire this time around. With his team, Royal Challengers Bangalore struggling throughout the season, Kohli too failed them to inspire with the bat, scoring only 250 runs in nine matches at a modest average of 27.77.
In fact, the India batting mainstay is out of touch for quite some time now. After scoring four Test double-centuries in as many series, Kohli had a forgettable outing in the four-match Test series against Australia before the IPL. The right-handed batsman could manage only 46 runs in the three Tests against the team from Down Under.
However, Hussey is confident that Kohli will bounce back quickly from the slump in form.
“He is a class player and anyone who wants to write him off in this tournament will probably have to eat humble pie! You can’t keep a gun player down for long and I am sure he will be very determined to play well in England and show the world his class again,” Hussey told PTI.
Hussey further said that the form of Indian batsmen will not affect their team’s chances in the upcoming tournament. The likes of MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh along with Kohli did not enjoy a good IPL but Hussey feels that a new tournament will help them forget their indifferent performance in the IPL.
“I don’t think it will have much effect at all. It is a new tournament in a different country, different team and different conditions. It’s all about starting well, getting some momentum and confidence going early in the tournament,” said Hussey.
Hussey said that the spinners will have a big role to play if the pitches offered in Champions Trophy will be dry.
“It is hard for me to say when I haven’t looked at the pitches, but if they are dry, then I definitely think the spinners will play a role in the tournament.”
The 41-year-old also feels that reigning world champions Australia has a very good chance to win the trophy with the kind of squad they have.
“I think Australia has a great chance. The team looks strong but it is a very tough competition to win as all the teams are very good and you can’t really afford any slip-ups along the way. If the team starts well and gets their confidence up, then they will be hard to stop,” said the veteran of 185 ODIs.
Steve Smith and David Warner enjoyed fruitful outings in the recently-concluded IPL and Hussey feels Australia’s chances in the tournament will revolve around these two.
“But they always seem to be in good form!” Hussey said.“They are both crucial to Australia’s chances, they always are. It is good that they have been playing cricket and are in good form leading into the tournament.”
The eighth edition of the Champions Trophy is starting from June 1 with hosts England taking on Bangladesh.