Bumrah is the best in the world: Kohli

Virat Kohli says Jasprit Bumrah is the most skillful bowler in any format at the moment. PTI

Dean Jones, the former Australian batsman-turned-commentator, recently said he expects a mouth-watering battle between openers Rohit Sharma and David Warner in the three-match ODI series involving India and Australia starting here on Tuesday.

The batting department could also witness the two greats Virat Kohli and Steve Smith striving to outdo each other. On the bowling front, the two bowlers holding key to their respective teams’ fortunes are Jasprit Bumrah and Mitchell Starc.

On Monday, Kohli’s reaction after winning the duel during the ‘nets’ session here at the Wankhede stadium against the ace Indian paceman reiterated Bumrah’s world-class quality. The Indian captain, not one to get bogged down by challenge, survived a hostile bowling spell from the right-arm pacer.

Despite some cracking strokes from Kohli, Bumrah kept coming hard at the right-hander to produce many close shaves. After smashing a six off a top edge on the last ball of the session, Kohli swung his arms up in the air in delight towards his team-mates.

“Bumrah has been playing for the team from the last four years and this is probably the second time I have ever come out of the ‘nets’ without getting out to him. The first time was in Adelaide in 2018. It’s a fun sort of competition,” Kohli said with a smile at the pre-match press conference when asked about his celebration.    

Kohli further heaped praise on Bumrah. “According to me, he is the most skillful bowler in the world in any format of the game. To play against him… he brings match intensity in the ‘nets’. He is not shy of hitting us on the head or targeting our ribs every now and then. I challenge myself to play well against him and not every day you get to hit boundaries off Jasprit,” he offered.

If India will bank on Bumrah’s guile, Australia will look up to the talismanic Starc. The left-arm pacer has a decent IPL experience of 27 games but Starc has played just five internationals on Indian soil (4 Tests and 1 ODI). Irrespective of the numbers, the 29-year-old is a big threat to India, felt Kohli.  

“He (Starc) has changed his action now and that has given him more swing. He gets to swing the new ball and can also tear it away with the old ball because of his linear action. Anyone who has pace, once they find their length, they can adjust anywhere. It is going to be a great challenge facing someone like Mitchell,” Kohli said.  

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