James Anderson says Virat Kohli is ‘lying’ when he says that his own form wouldn’t matter to him “as long as India wins”.
When asked about his own objectives at the start of his side’s tour of England, the India captain said: “It doesn’t matter whether I get runs or don’t. What I want is the team to play well and win.”
Now England’s leading Test wicket-taker has provided a tongue-in-cheek assessment of Kohli’s comments. “It doesn’t matter if he gets runs or not? I think he is telling lies there,” Anderson told PTI in a chat conducted during the ODI series. “For India to win here, of course it matters. Virat will be desperate to score runs for his team, as you would expect from the captain and one of the best players in the world.”
Kohli struggled during the 2014 tour of England, amassing just 134 runs over five Tests, but excelled in the 2016-17 home series, while England’s 35-year-old swing bowler has accounted for Kohli’s wicket on five occasions in Test cricket, including four times in 2014.
Anderson doesn’t expect to have as easy a ride this time around. “I would expect a batsman of Kohli’s quality to have learnt from that last series here (in 2014),” he said. “I am sure he is practising hard at certain aspects of his game and that will make the battle between him and not just myself, but him and the rest of our bowlers, a really exciting one.”
The heatwave in England could help to produce turning wickets in England, which could cater to India’s spin attack, but Anderson hopes there will be more pace and bounce for England’s pace battery.
“We have had a hot few weeks, so the pitches may well be dry and suit India more than us,” he said. “That is something we will take into account when we come into that series. We will be hopeful that we have a couple of weeks of rain before the series starts and be able to grow some grass on the wickets.”
England’s leader of the attack has picked up 73 scalps at 19.1 since the India series two years ago, despite battling a persistent shoulder problem.