Ahead of the gruelling five-match Test rubber against India, former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has cautioned his side against the batting prowess of Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who is going through a purple patch in all formats of the game at the moment.
Considered among the top three batsmen in the world, Kohli has often drawn comparisons with young English batter Joe Root, which Pieterson feels isn’t a fair comparison.
“Kohli is as good as it gets. He is right up there. Root has good numbers, but it’s unfair to even compare Joe with Virat because his numbers are just phenomenal. He plays so aggressively – sometimes it’s like – are you serious? The way he makes big runs for his team so often is just remarkable,” the swashbuckling right-hander was quoted as saying by ‘The Cricketer’ magazine.
With most touring teams failing to handle spin in sub-continent conditions, Pietersen had a piece of advice for the young English batters, who will be up against the formidable combo of off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and left-armer Ravindra Jadeja alongside leggie Amit Mishra.
The 36-year-old said that England will have to watch out for the doosra from the Chennai offie, who can single-handedly change the course of a match in Indian conditions.
At home, Ashwin has been in red-hot touch, picking up 153 wickets in 22 Tests. His 27 wickets, helped India complete a 3-0 clean sweep of New Zealand in the recently concluded series.
“When I’ve played against him, I could pick his doosra, so I was OK. But if England’s batsmen can’t pick his doosra they’ll have issues. I was always looking to smash his offspinner.,” Pietersen said.
“The low bounce might make it harder, but that’s part of the challenge of playing in India”.
“Batsmen have got to find themselves a boundary option in India. It’s all about rotating the strike and manoeuvring the field. I was OK in India. I enjoyed it there. I made plenty of hundreds there.
“Ashwin is a good bowler. He uses his variations very well, especially the way he approaches the crease. He’s always looking to attack and outfox a batsman,” he added.
England last toured India in 2012, when they defeated the hosts 2-1 but the upcoming series will be an exciting battle as No.1-ranked India have made rapid strides in the longest format, while England are coming from a shocking defeat to Bangladesh.
The first match of the series will be played at Rajkot from November 9.