A rampaging Virat Kohli may not be great for Australia, but the head of Channel Seven's cricket telecast believes it would be good business for the game's new TV partner.
Kohli, who former Australia captain Ricky Ponting rates as the best batsman in the world in the absence of the suspended Steve Smith, is set to be the major attraction for a Test summer that has been robbed of much of its star power by the ball-tampering scandal.
Star power: Virat Kohli will be a central character in the upcoming Australian cricket season.
The India captain is a run machine, but it is his ability to talk the talk that can rile rival players and opposition fans.
While paceman Pat Cummins bravely forecast that Kohli would not score a century this summer, Channel Seven would not be unhappy if the superstar batsman was to reproduce his form from four years ago as they take over the reins from Nine.
"Kohli is a polarising character, but I think Aussies love Virat Kohli and I think Virat Kohli will be as big a star of the summer as much as our guys," Seven's head of cricket David Barham told Fairfax Media.
"If he makes hundred after hundred, we'll talk about Virat Kohli. I'm sure he'll do it in his own way and he will be niggling, doing what he does – fantastic. It'll make for a great summer's cricket.
"We'll be celebrating the Indian players and their skill as much as our players."
Ponting regards Kohli as the best going around, but only because Smith has been suspended.
"If Steve Smith was playing now I'd have him as the No.1 player in the world, certainly batsman anyway," Ponting said at a Seven function at the MCG on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Barham is not a fan of using microphones on players in Tests, saying that was better suited to Twenty20.
"That would be cheapening Test cricket," Barham said. "Test cricket is a hard game played by hard men and there is a mystique about it and I'm not sure you want to be talking to blokes on the field."
Barham will also not be leaving stump mics turned on when the ball is dead despite networks being given the all clear to do so by the International Cricket Council, which is cracking down on poor player behaviour.
"Stump mics are an important part of cricket, but you've got to remember it is players' workplace," Barham said.
"I'm mindful of that. You've got to be careful and you've got to be smart about how you use it.
"You don't want players saying, 'I don't want to have anything to do with you because you're doing this or that'.
"I'm really mindful that we try and work with them, not exploit them."
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