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Steve Smith Starts Mind Games, Wants Virat Kohli 'Angry' During India-Australia Series

NDTV logo NDTV 27-12-2016

Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team is firing on all cylinders and look unbeatable at home, therefore it comes as no surprise that the Australians have started their mind games early. Australia captain Steven Smith has said that he wants to make his Indian counterpart Kohli "a little bit angry" during the upcoming four-Test series in India.

Australia are in the middle of a three-Test series against Pakistan but Smith moved to land an early psychological blow on the India skipper before the first Test in Pune, starting on February 23.

Smith feels ruffling Kohli's feathers and getting under his skin could make the Indian team more vulnerable.

"He is a world-class player and he has, obviously, led the Indian team incredibly well over the last 18 months or so," Smith said on ABC Grandstand.

"They have won a lot of games in that time and I think they have played a lot of cricket at home in that time as well. I think he has improved a lot body-language wise.

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"He is a very emotional character out on the field, but I think he has improved a lot there.

"I guess for us as a team it's trying to get him out of the strong emotional state and try and make him, I guess, a little bit angry and ruffle his feathers and things like that.

"I think if you can get him in that state then the Indian team can possibly be a little bit vulnerable."

However, former Australia batsman Dean Jones didn't think much of the tactic and tweeted his feelings about it.

India have registered crushing home series wins over New Zealand and England recently with Kohli's brilliant batting and aggressive on-field tactics being pivotal to the team's cause.

The Indian captain hammered 655 runs at an average of 109.16 during India's recent 4-0 series victory against England. Kohli's average has risen to 50.10 and he is now second -- behind Smith -- on the ICC Test batting rankings.

With Ravichandran Ashwin doing the damage with the ball and the batsmen firing on all cylinders, India sit atop the Test rankings after going 17 matches at undefeated.

India has not lost a series at home since 2012-13, when they were beaten by Alastair Cook's England.

Australia was crushed 3-0 in Sri Lanka earlier this year before losing their home series against South Africa 2-1.

"We go there in February and, no doubt, it's going to be an incredibly difficult tour - going to India always is," Smith said.

"Four Tests there, it's a great opportunity for this team, where we are going to be the underdogs going there.

"It would be fantastic to win a series there and we are going to have to make sure our processes are in order and we play a lot better than we have done in subcontinent conditions."

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