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'Chilled out' Rahane a good replacement for Kohli, claims Smith

31   //    24 Mar 2017, 22:55 IST
Virat Kohli Ajinkya Rahane - cropped
India captain Virat Kohli (L) and his likely deputy Ajinkya Rahane

Australia captain Steve Smith does not expect the potential absence of his counterpart Virat Kohli to hamper India's cause in the fourth Test in Dharamsala.

Kohli is in doubt for the series decider due to a shoulder injury suffered in the drawn third match in Ranchi.

The hosts' skipper on Friday stated he will not be given preferential treatment by the selectors if he is unable to prove his physical readiness.

And Smith claimed being without the leader and batting talisman will not adversely affect India, who need to win the final match if they are claim the series and wrest the Border-Gavaskar Trophy out of Australia's grasp.

"I think they'd be fine [without Kohli]," Smith said.

"I think Ajinkya Rahane would probably step up to captain their side.

"I thought he did a pretty good job last week when he was out on the field in Virat's absence.  

"I'm confident he'll be able to do a good job for them."

Smith and Kohli have been at loggerheads during the series, India's captain accusing the tourists of attempting to gain an unfair advantage by seeking advice from the dressing room regarding the Decision Review System.

That insinuation was rejected out of hand by Smith, who did admit to transgressing once himself while out in the middle during the second Test.

Asked about the leadership style of India's likely stand-in captain, the visitors' skipper did not miss an opportunity to subtly critique Kohli's mannerisms.  

"[Rahane] was probably a bit more chilled out on the field," he said.

"Probably not quite as emotional but I think he understands the game really well.

"I've been fortunate enough to play a fair bit of cricket with Ajinkya and he reads the game and understands the game really well so if Virat was to miss this Test match then I'm sure the Indian side will still be in very good hands."

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