Australia ODI captain Aaron Finch hailed the consistency of India skipper Virat Kohli and said the rivalry between the two teams is just as big in limited-overs formats as it is Test cricket.
Kohli made his Test debut nine years ago and has gone on to become one of the game’s greatest batsmen, as well as taking on the captaincy across all three formats.
There is little love lost on the field between Australia and India but Finch recognises Kohli’s class, saying he is part of a group of players such as Steve Smith, Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar who define greatness.
“Every player, regardless of who it is, has a bad series. But very, very rarely do you see Kohli, Smith, even going back Ponting, Sachin, these guys they don’t have two bad series in a row,” Finch said on the Sony Ten Pit Stop show.
“The pressure of playing for India is one thing but also leading India is another and the way he has done it, so consistently for a long time.
“And taking over from [MS] Dhoni, the leadership, that is huge. The expectations were high and he kept delivering and I think that that is the most impressive thing.
“What has been so impressive for so long is just his consistency across three formats. To be the best player of all-time in ODI cricket is one thing. But then to also be in Test cricket and T20 cricket as a rounded player, that is remarkable.”
Australia are scheduled to go head-to-head with India for three T20 matches in October, before beginning a four-Test series in December and rounding out with three ODIs in January next year.
The uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic means no fixtures are particularly set in stone right now, but Finch says the rivalry between Australia and India is hot regardless of the format.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) June 29, 2020
“India and Australia are two very successful teams, two countries that are very passionate about cricket as well. So, it’s hard to compare the rivalry [in Tests and ODIs],” Finch told reporters on virtual news conference.
“One is the traditional game of Test cricket and the grind of five days, that mental battle day in day out while one-day cricket is more skill-based obviously, just on that day. If a couple of guys have a great day on the field, it goes a long way in winning the match.
“That said, it’s not a case of being less important or being taken lightly because it’s ODI or T20 cricket.”
The global health pandemic has seen Australia’s home ODI series with Zimbabwe, which was scheduled for August, postponed indefinitely.
As things stand, T20 clashes with the West Indies and India in October that precede the T20 World Cup – which could still be rearranged – will be the next assignments for Australia.
But there remains the possibility of limited-overs matches being organised to take place in England, something Finch is preparing for.
“It’s a little bit up in the air, just with how quickly everything is changing. In Victoria [where restrictions have been tightened] we are going the other way again,” he said.
“We’re not exactly sure when our next game is going to be. In our mind we were planning for Zimbabwe, we were planning for England, and all going well, I think that was our next game, that’s what we are planning for.
“I am preparing to go to England and play, whether that happens we will wait and see.
“We just have to be really conscious of being ultra flexible. There might be a tour comes up at relatively short notice because we can get there, and that would be brilliant.
“Whatever it takes. The players are all in the same boat. Whatever we have to do to get a game up and going, that is in the best interest of world cricket, we’d be up for that.”