Can Virat Kohl, the Indian batting superstar renowned for his ability to feed off crowds, perform as well without them?
This is one the big questions being asked by Australian players ahead of their scheduled clash with India in October.
At this stage the Coronavirus still has cricket officials unsure if the series will be able to take place in front of crowds.
There has been speculation, however, that if not, it would go ahead behind closed doors. A match like this has already been played successfully in Australia. This was against New Zealand in March
If the series between hosts Australia and India does go ahead without live fans, how would danger-man Kohli feature?
Kohli might try “revving up the seats”
Australia’s star spinner Nathan Lyon, for one, believes Kohli would have no trouble adjusting. In fact the India star may even “try and rev up the seats” in the empty stadiums, he joked this week.
“He’s probably good enough to adapt to any scenario,” the off-spinner told a video conference on Tuesday.
“I was talking to Mitch Starc the other day. We agreed that if we play with no crowds, we may well see the amazing sight of Virat trying to rev up the seats.
“It’s going to be a little bit different, for sure. But he’s a superstar. He’ll be able to adapt to any climate that we’re able to play in.”
While there is plenty of uncertainty over the series, Lyon said he was excited about welcoming India.
Australia keen to avenge 2018-19 defeat
The World No 1 cricket nation retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy when the two teams last met in 2018-19. Australia would dearly love to reverse that result this time.
“I’m just excited about the prospect of India coming out here to Australia. It’s up there with the biggest series alongside the Ashes,” he said.
“Obviously they’re an absolute powerhouse of the cricket world so to have those guys out here is going to be fantastic. This regardless of whether we play with or without any crowds. It’s out of our control.
“We’ve got to be supported by and follow the advice from all the amazing medical people around the world.
“I haven’t really thought about (the difference of) playing in front of no crowds or massive crowds. I’ve only thought about the opportunity of playing against India again.
Australia “a much stronger side at the moment”
“Obviously they had the wood over us last time they come out here. I feel, however, like we’re a much stronger side at the moment. I’m just unbelievably excited about the prospect of playing them here at home.”
Kohli has for sometime been regarded as the best batsman in the world. He continues to be ranked by the ICC as the World No 1 in ODI cricket.
However, at No 2 he is currently wedged between Australia’s Steve Smith and teammate Marnus Labuschagne in Test-match cricket. And this is possibly one of the reasons for Lyons’ optimism.