Former India pace bowler Zaheer Khan feels that the current India-Australia ODI series is too friendly, and that Virat Kohli's side must find a way to bring some intensity into the contest.
According to Zaheer Khan, Team India coach Ravi Shastri, who was known for his on-field banter during his playing days, should push his team to take on the Aussies, particularly Steve Smith and David Warner.
“Knowing the coach Ravi Shastri, he should take a leaf out of old school cricket and maybe remind Smith and Warner about what has happened a couple of years back (sandpapergate),” Khan was quoted as saying on Cricbuzz Live.
“At times when things aren’t going your way you just have to find something to bring out that intensity,” he added.
Like Zaheer Khan, cricket fans and experts have been quite surprised to find the relations between the two teams being rather friendly so far. On Sunday at Sydney, after Aaron Finch was struck in the stomach, KL Rahul rubbed his belly for fun and the Australian captain found it funny. The players from both sides have also been seen having a number of easy-going chats.
Try everything and anything possible: Zaheer Khan
Zaheer Khan reiterated that Team India will need to lift their game and that indulging in verbal volleys might not be a bad thing.
“They have to pick that fight maybe. Not in a bad way — staying in the boundaries and bringing out that intensity at times. Forget about what is going your way, what’s not and just get in the zone, which really helps bring out the best in you.
“Ravi has been good at it so I think that’s something he should definitely ponder because it’s going to be a long tour ... they should try everything and anything possible,” he further added.
India vs Australia: A history of intense rivalry
Unlike the current series, India and Australia have been involved in a number of heated battles over the years. Sachin Tendulkar and Glenn McGrath had silent but defiant stare-off contests for years.
Steve Waugh and Sourav Ganguly were not the best of friends, but they had mutual respect for each other. Ganguly famously kept Waugh waiting at the toss during the historic 2001 Test series as a part of his mind games.
Virat Kohli and Mitchell Johnson went all out at each other during the 2014-15 tour. Of course, the fight went a bit too far during the Monkeygate scandal in 2008.
During India’s previous visit Down Under in 2018-19, Aussie skipper Tim Paine had plenty of banter with Indian wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant and run-ins with counterpart Virat Kohli.
Zaheer Khan himself tried to unsettle the Aussies in the 2003 World Cup final, only for the move to backfire.