Time for Kohli to show that he can score runs on English soil: McGrath

CHENNAI: Right from his playing days, Australian pace great Glenn McGrath has shared a great association with India. Years after retiring from the game, McGrath’s relationship with the country remains intact thanks to his association as director of the MRF Pace Foundation.
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McGrath, in the city for his latest coaching program, spoke on the upcoming India-England series, the role of James Anderson and more.
How do you view the India-England series?
It’s going to be interesting. Batting has always been India’s strength and in recent times, their bowling has come good as well. With injuries to Bhuvneshwar Kumar and (Jasprit) Bumrah, it’s going to make it tougher.
How do you see Ishant Sharma shaping as India’s spearhead considering his experience?
Experience does make a lot of difference. Ishant would know the conditions well and know how to take wickets on those wickets. He is not probably bowling as quickly as he was when he started off. But he is still someone who will be looked up to as your pace bowlers have to do the job in England.
England have recalled Adil Rashid in the squad for the opening Test. How do you view this development?
I think Rashid is a confident player and will relish the challenge and represent the country in longer formats. The move is interesting since Indians play spinners well. England’s strength is their pace duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad. On conditions where it’s swinging, Anderson is as tough as anyone in world cricket. Anderson will be the key player in the tournament. How Indian batsmen play him in English conditions will decide the outcome of the series. If Indian batsmen can get on top of Anderson, then it will make a big difference to outcome of the series.
What’s your take on Kuldeep Yadav who is part of the squad?
It will be interesting to see the pitches England offer for the five-Test series. Shane Warne always loved bowling in England. He always said – if it seamed – it will turn as well. English conditions do seam a bit and Warne’s success there shows that it does spin as well. India will need their spinners to fire if they are going to make a mark in the series.
How crucial is this tour for Virat Kohli as he didn’t score many in 2014 Test series in England?
Every tour is big. Virat has done well everywhere but in England, and he will be keen to change that. Kohli is a class act and has got all the shots. He is quite expressive and not a timid player and when he gets going, he is as good as anyone else. It’s time for Virat to show that he can score runs in English conditions. It’s a tougher with the ball moving around. There is a lot of seam movement and that has been the undoing for a lot of players. If he can adapt to those conditions, then Virat will score a lot of runs.
Is Tim Paine the right choice to be leading Australia?
At the moment yes as there aren’t too many options really. The Australian team isn’t settled and this provides opportunities for young guys to make a mark with Steve Smith and David Warner not in the team.
How do you view Justin Langer as coach of the side?
I think he is what the team needs at the moment. His two big words – discipline and respect – are the things you need to have while representing the country. I think he will instill that in the boys.