Not sure if Kohli’s absence is going to be a deciding factor, says Pat Cummins

Cummins said Virat Kohli’s absence from the last three Tests “might make a bit of a difference” but won’t be a deciding factor in the series.

Pat Cummins and Virat Kohli during the Test series in Australia in 2018-19.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Ever since Virat Kohli’s return to India midway through the tour to Australia was announced last week, it has stolen the headlines across the cricketing globe.

Australia pacer Pat Cummins in a select media interaction on Monday said Kohli’s absence from the last three Tests “might make a bit of a difference” but won’t be a deciding factor in the series.

The series, which starts with the first of the three ODIs on November 27, will be telecast live on Sony Six.

Considering India won a rare series Down Under last time around, are you looking up to the series as a revenge series? And how much of a difference will the return of Smith and Warner make to the side?

We have got a lot to prove. India played really well here a couple of years ago. We as an Aussie cricket team, and as long as I have grown up watching them play, pride ourselves on winning at home, especially Test matches. So to lose that one, I feel like we have to make amends this summer. It’s gonna be a great series. Both teams I think are at the top of the Test championship table at the moment. It’s going to be a high-quality series. If I look back at that series, obviously Smith and Waner (are back) but obviously you’ve got Marnus (Labuschagne) who now is one of the best batters in the world. Travis Head’s had another 20 or 30 games and obviously the bowlers, two years further down the track. Hopefully we’re better equipped than we were a couple of years ago. But India are much the same. They have got the same line-up, same high-quality players, so it’s gonna be a great series.

How much will the fact that some of the Australian cricketers will enter the series on the back of some red-ball cricket whereas Indians have hardly played any all this year will come into equation?

We’ll wait and see. Of the likely playing XI, only four or five have played some red-ball cricket and five or six of us have been playing the IPL. I don’t think it’s going to be a huge factor. Nowadays playing professional cricket, you switch between formats constantly, so it’s not going to be something we haven’t experienced before. We’ll have some good prep over there in Adelaide when we get over there. I believe there are two India games against our Aussie A line-up, so hopefully most of the players can get some really good prep under their belt. So I think it’s pretty equal.

Australia has won all its pink-ball Tests so far. Will that put you in an advantageous position since the series will start with a day-night Test in Adelaide?

I’ll say most times you play at a home ground at a familiar venue is a bit of an advantage. No doubt playing a few more games than India have in this slightly new day-night format might help. It’s a great format. First time I played, I had a little bit of trepidation but no matter how you go, it’s an amazing spectacle. It’s a great event. Each game that we have played, just like any other Test match, the better side normally wins. We’ll wait and see. I think India have played one Test-match before and have had a really good win. They’ve got a pink-ball warm-up game at the SCG under lights so they’ll have good preparation leading into this one.

Australia has the same pace attack as the last series. How different will it be than the last time around?

The first thing is we are all a couple of years older and wiser and more experienced hopefully, which helps. One of the biggest factors last time was we bowled a lot of overs back-to-back so by the end of the series, we were [exhausted]… the first two Tests were quite evenly poised and then Melbourne, obviously India batted really well but I think we spend a day and a half-two days out there in the in field, and then had a session off while batting and were straight back out in the field. We’re used to big workloads but hopefully here in Australia, the games and the series we’ve won between those big workloads, we’ve also batted the house down and batted for long periods of time. No doubt we’re gonna have a few big days in the field but hopefully we can break that up by some bit of rest, some big scores, put some pressure back on the Indian line-up. That’ll help as well.

How are you looking at India captain Virat Kohli missing the last three Tests?

To be honest, we haven’t spoken too much about it. I saw the announcement in the media. As a captain, obviously he’ll be missed but the Indian cricket side always has ways of finding some incredible batsman who is just waiting for an opportunity, so may be that new opportunity can be the beginning of someone else’s career. It might make a bit of a difference. I am not sure it’s gonna be a deciding factor in the series but to be honest us players haven’t spoken too much about it.

Australia to do 'barefoot circles'

Australian men's cricket teams will stand in a circle with bare feet at the start of international series in support of the global anti-racism movement and to recognise the country's indigenous people, fast bowler Pat Cummins said on Monday.

The players will make the gesture for the first time ahead of the one-day international series-opener against India in Sydney on Nov. 27.

“In Australia, we think the most, I guess, marginalised group is the first nations people and the indigenous peoples,” Cummins, vice-captain of Australia's test and one-day teams, told reporters in a video call.

“And we think the barefoot circle's a great way to celebrate them.