Dean Jones: 'Fascinating journey so far for Kohli and Root'

While calling Joe Root, Dean Jones saw bits of Virender Sehwag in Virat Kohli.

Indian Test captain Virat Kohli

Dean Jones feels Virat Kohli has a slight weakness outside the off-stump in certain conditions, but the Indian Test skipper is getting over that.   -  K. R. Deepak

Dean Jones knows a thing or two about batting in Indian conditions. The Australian’s epic 210 in extreme heat and humidity in the tied Test of 1986 at Chepauk is an immortal innings. The 55-year-old former Australia batsman shared his thoughts with Sportstar here on Thursday.

Jones said he loved watching Virat Kohli bat. “There is a bit of Veeru [Virender Sehwag] in him. Perhaps, he has a slight weakness outside the off-stump in certain conditions, but he is getting over that.”

Asked about the other young outstanding batsman, Joe Root, who too is playing his 50th Test like Kohli, Jones said, “Root is organised, technically pleasing. It’s been a fascinating journey so far for both Kohli and Root.”

He then made an interesting technical observation. “If you look at the Fab Five of the present times — Kohli, Root, AB de Villiers, Kane Willamson and Steve Smith — they all go back and across much like what Don Bradman or Brian Lara did. So in some ways, we are returning to the old school of batting.”

Jones also had words of praise for Cheteshwar Pujara as well. “He is disciplined at the crease, builds his innings.”

When asked about off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, Jones said, “In these conditions, Ashwin is very, very hard to play. His record here speaks for itself. But he has gone for plenty of runs with far fewer wickets on good, true pitches. That’s an aspect of his cricket he needs to work on. He has to plan his dismissals on good tracks, set batsmen up.”

On DRS

The DRS, Jones believed, should help the Indian spinners. “So many decisions are given off the front foot because of DRS. Batsmen these days are scared to come to the front foot since they could be struck on the pads. So they stay within the crease. It has affected footwork.”

Going back to the Rajkot Test, Jones felt England should have declared at least 30 minutes earlier on the final day.

“I am sure Cook would be thinking about that. Particularly since the English spinners outbowled their Indian counterparts in the Test. England should be aiming to win Tests, not draw them.”

Jones said India’s opening pair also played its part late on day two. “Vijay and Gambhir took India to 63 for no loss at stumps on the second day. If India had lost a couple of wickets during that period, it could have well lost the Test.”

On the Australian team going through a horrendous phase, Jones said, “For years, we have been accused of sledging and finally it has got to us.

“These days we are not aggressive enough on the field. We have become soft and it is having an impact on our game. We have become sitting ducks.”

He added, “We don’t have players such as Glenn McGrath, Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden and Mitchell Johnson who would make you feel that they own the ground or the pitch. That mindset is gone.”

The drop-in pitches too had not helped, said Jones. “The pitches in Australia have become so flat.”

Will he take up a role with the Australian team? “Let the phone call come,” replied Jones.