Indian captain Virat Kohli shakes hands with Australian captain Tim Paine after their series last summer. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Indian captain Virat Kohli shakes hands with Australian captain Tim Paine after their series last summer. Picture. Phil Hillyard

Bring it on: Kohli up for Paine’s challenge

Virat Kohli has accepted Australian captain Tim Paine's invitation to start next summer's heavyweight Test series at the Gabba fortress, where the Aussies are on a 32-year winning streak.

Kohli also welcomed the prospect of playing a landmark day-night Test in Australia, a concept that India flat-out refused to entertain last summer.

Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts was poised to meet Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials in Mumbai overnight for high-powered talks, including Roberts' push to cut Test matches to four days.

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Indian captain Virat Kohli says his team will take up Australian captain Tim Paine’s invitation for a pink ball Test. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Indian captain Virat Kohli says his team will take up Australian captain Tim Paine’s invitation for a pink ball Test. Picture. Phil Hillyard

 

Officials from New Zealand Cricket are also in India.

Under new BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, India played its maiden pink-ball Test when it hosted Bangladesh in Kolkata in November and won by an innings and 46 runs.

"We played the day-night Test here," Kohli said on Monday night.

"We were pretty happy with how it went, and it's become a very exciting feature of any Test series, so we'd absolutely be open to play a day-night Test.

"We'll be ready enough for the challenge - whether it's Gabba or Perth, it doesn't matter to us.

"We do have the skill-sets as a team now to compete against anyone in the world anywhere, and in any format of the game.

"Whether it's white ball, red ball, pink ball we will play anything."

Australian cricketers are desperate to start next summer's Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Brisbane because it has not lost on the hard and fast Gabba pitches since 1988 - before Steve Smith was born.

"(The Gabba is) where we like to start our summer, and it has been for a long, long time except for last summer (against India)," Paine said earlier this summer.

"We'll have to run that by Virat. We'll get an answer from him at some stage, I'm sure. So as I said, we'll ask Virat. See if we can get his permission to play here.

"And maybe even get a pink-ball test if he's in a good mood."

A day-night Test would deliver a greater financial windfall from selling the broadcast rights back to India, because the match would start at a friendlier time for Kohli's billion fans watching back home.

A sweaty Kohli gave his answer in Mumbai on Monday night just moments after stepping out of the nets, where he was facing superstar Jasprit Bumrah.

"Bumrah's been playing for the team for the last four years now and this was the probably the second time I've ever got out of the net hitting a few against him and not getting out," Kohli said.

 

 

"One was Adelaide before the Test in 2018 and one was today. He's, according to me, the most skilful bowler in the world."

An entree to next summer's tantalising Test series begins tonight, when India hosts Australia in the first of three ODIs this week.

Kohli said he was disappointed it wasn't a five-match series and remarked how Mitchell Starc's revised action had returned maximum swing to his brilliant bowling this summer.