Virat Kohli refuses to take anything for granted as India prepare to face depleted Australia

India start as big favorites to beat Australia across all three formats during their tour Down Under. (AFP)
Updated 20 November 2018
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Virat Kohli refuses to take anything for granted as India prepare to face depleted Australia

  • Australia are still without Steve Smith and David Warner following their bans for ball tampering.
  • Kohli, however, refuses to accept India are huge favorites to beat the hosts.

SYDNEY: India captain Virat Kohli insisted Australia still have the quality to upset his side in their Twenty20 series and said his team will be focusing on the “little things” to come out on top.
The visitors open their tour with the first of three T20s in Brisbane today ahead of four Tests and three one-dayers that will keep them in Australia until late January.
In the short format, they have been by far the better team in recent times. Australia have also been weakened by ball-tampering bans to key batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner.
“We definitely have a very strong side,” said Kohli, who last month became the fastest to reach 10,000 runs in one-day internationals, breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s record.
“When we step on the field we have 11 individuals striving for excellence, they want to be the best they can.
“Those are the dynamics that have allowed us to play the cricket that we are and hopefully we can build on that.”
Despite Australia being without Smith and Warner — who will need to serve their full 12-month bans for ball-tampering, after Cricket Australia Tuesday ruled out any reductions — Kohli is adamant the hosts still pose a big threat.
“There’s no denying the quality they have in their side,” he said.
“They still have world-class cricketers, though missing out on two of the world’s best batsmen in not ideal for any team.
“But the guys they have, especially in the limited-overs game, can do damage at any point in time. You can never underestimate any side. We’re won’t be taking anything for granted.”
India arrived in Australia on the back of a home thrashing of the West Indies, but their form traditionally is more fragile on the road.
Kohli said they planned to “do the little things right so we can win more situations than the opposition.”
“We definitely believe we have the quality to win, but it will boil down to how we think in each moment in every game we play.”
Australia were beaten in both white-ball formats by South Africa in recent weeks, but skipper Aaron Finch is confident they can turn their fortunes around with a more assertive approach.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity for us to come out and express ourselves, play some great attacking cricket, take the game on and really try and take it to India,” he said Tuesday.
And Finch believes they are close to winning their first series since new coach Justin Langer took over, after Darren Lehmann stepped down following the tampering row.
“India are in great form but we feel as though we’ve been building really nicely without getting results going our way so far,” he said.


Egypt in surprise bid to be new African Cup host

Updated 14 December 2018
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Egypt in surprise bid to be new African Cup host

  • Egypt’s bid came after Morocco said this week it wouldn’t put itself forward as a candidate
  • Cameroon lost being the host of the Cup because of poor preparations and a violent insurgency in parts of that country

CAIRO: The Egyptian Football Association says it has submitted a bid to replace Cameroon as next year’s African Cup of Nations host, a surprise pitch by the North African country which wasn’t initially thought of as a contender.
Egypt’s bid, announced Thursday to meet Friday’s deadline, came after Morocco said this week it wouldn’t put itself forward as a candidate. Morocco had been considered the front-runner after being a candidate to host the 2026 World Cup. It lost out in that race to a joint United States-Mexico-Canada bid.
The Confederation of African Football has given countries until the end of Friday to submit bids for the 2019 African Cup, which was taken away from Cameroon last month because of poor preparations and a violent insurgency in parts of that country. CAF wants a new host in place by Dec. 31, with the tournament in June and July looming.
South Africa is another possible stand-in host, but the South African Football Association hasn’t confirmed it will bid and says it needs government approval before any decision.