Virat Kohli, right, and David Warner at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. Picture: MANJUNATH KIRAN / AFP
Virat Kohli, right, and David Warner at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. Picture: MANJUNATH KIRAN / AFP

New Delhi — Australia’s David Warner has warned against sledging Virat Kohli when India tour Australia this year, saying “trying to poke the bear” will only make the star batsman play better.

As cricket slowly gets back into action after coronavirus suspensions, India are slated to tour Australia for four Test matches in December-January in what is set to be a highlight of the year.

Warner, a linchpin of Australia’s batting attack, said he is looking forward to the confrontation but he will steer clear of taunting India’s captain.

“I thrive on the crowd, I thrive on people sort of going at me in the field. And getting into that battle,” Warner told India Today television. “I think Virat is quite similar, if you go a little bit at Virat he comes out harder with the bat and he plays amazing. We have seen that time and time again.

“There is no point in actually trying to poke the bear because at the end of the day if you do that it just fires up the person a bit more.”

In 2019 India claimed their first Test series win in Australia after 71 years of trying. Warner, who with Steve Smith missed the series while they served a ball-tampering ban, said Australia are a lot better prepared this time.

“It’s a much-anticipated return to Australia for India. I am excited ... to be selected and to be a part of that. Last time we were not bad but were beaten by a good team and their bowling was relentless,” said Warner. “Now, India has got the best batting line-up and our bowlers will like to target them.”

Warner said he is also keen to play the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) if the International Cricket Council postpones the T20 World Cup, which is scheduled to start October 18 in Australia.

The fate of the T20 showpiece will be decided in July. If the World Cup is sidelined, the delayed IPL could take its place.

Cricket Australia has admitted the World Cup looks “unrealistic” in 2020 as the pandemic lingers.

Warner, who is captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL, said quarantine rules for foreigners entering Australia were one of many problems for the World Cup.

“The challenges around getting every single nation that participates in the World Cup into Australia, given the fact that we have the quarantine for 14 days ... we have to abide by those rules and we await the decision from the ICC,” Warner said.

“I am definitely sure and positive that we [Australian players] will be able to come and play in the IPL if that replaces the World Cup schedule.” 


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