Ahead of their much-awaited limited over series between India, Australia captain Steve Smith had reckoned that keeping India captain Virat Kohli "quiet" will be the key for his team. However, former Australia skipper Michael Clarke believes it will be easier said than done. Clarke said Kohli is in terrific form and it will be very challenging for the Australian to stop him in the upcoming series, which includes five ODIs and three T20Is. "It will be very challenging for the Australian team to stop Virat Kohli at the moment. He is in terrific form, especially in the one-day format... 30 international hundreds already. He has been a wonderful player," Clarke told India TV in an exclusive chat.
Kohli is in red-hot form as he was the highest run-getter in the five-match series against Sri Lanka with a total of 330 runs, including two centuries and a fifty. The 28-year-old hammered his 30th ODI century during his splendid batting show in the Island nation, equalling Australian great Ricky Ponting's record.
Clarke said Australia will have to be at their best against an Indian side that demolished Sri Lanka across formats. He added that the visitors will have to find ways to get rid of Kohli.
"They have to play their best, they have to find ways to stop the Indian captain Virat Kohli and probably also their top three batsmen. I think that's going to be the key for Australia," he said.
The 36-year-old former World Cup winning captain added that the absence of fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood might hurt the visitors' chances in India. However, Clarke said that Steve Smith and Co. have the talent to win the series.
"I think one-day cricket has been Australia's strength over a long period of time. This team will be looking to build some momentum for the Australian summer. We are playing England in Australia. It is going to be a tough contest, there's no doubt about it. India are full in confidence coming back from a successful tour in all three formats against Sri Lanka."
"Australia are missing two of their most important players - Starc and Hazlewood. So, it is going to be challenging but I believe this one-day outfit has good enough talent to win this series," he added.
Clarke said the aggression of the Australian bowlers will play an important factor in India.
"I think for every team in ODI format, the key is to take early wickets. I think what is important for the Australian team is the aggression with how they come out and bowl. They have to take wickets early," he said.