‘Don’t think any Australian side is vulnerable at home’ – Kohli
India skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday played down suggestions Australia are vulnerable especially at home after the ball-tampering scandal, as his India side try to win a series Down Under for the first time.
Australia begin the opening Test in Adelaide on Thursday on a run of poor form and without veteran batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner, who remain banned for their involvement in ball-tampering saga.
The dangerman Kohli -- who electrified viewers with viral footage of a pre-Test batting exhibition in the nets -- said he was taking nothing for granted.
"I personally don't think any Australian side is vulnerable at home," he said at his pre-match press conference, where a 12-man squad was named which included a recall for 34-year-old opener Murali Vijay.
"They still have the skill to dominate at home. We're not taking anything for granted."
Much will depend on how Kohli, who has accumulated 1,063 runs in 18 Test innings this year, performs on a ground he admits is his favourite away from home.
"I love coming to this ground, the city in general," he said.
"That's not to say that performances are always guaranteed in a certain place, but at Adelaide I feel different from many other places."
‘Batsmen need to apply themselves’
Vijay, who was dropped following a pair in the second Test against England this year, won back his place after young Prithvi Shaw was ruled out after suffering ankle ligament damage in a warm-up game against CA XI.
India opted to hold back in naming their final XI until the morning of the Test as they mull whether to play all-rounder Hanuma Vihari or hard-hitting batsman Rohit Sharma.
But the world's number one Test side are aware of their form away from home which has been fragile. They lost to South Africa (2-1) and then 4-1 in England this year.
While the bowlers are in rhythm, Kohli has so often carried the team and he urged his fellow batsmen to show character.
"If the batsmen apply themselves it can be a great place to bat," he said of Adelaide.
"But it takes character. And I think the Australia team has great skills, especially their bowlers are really strong.
"We need to step up as a batting group, we understand that. There just needs to be a collective performance (bowlers and batters) on a regular basis."
Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravi Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah