Former Australian captain Steve Waugh has asked his country's cricketers not to get into a verbal battle with Virat Kohli, since the Indian skipper feeds off wars of words. India will tour Australia for 3 T20Is, 3 ODIs and 4 Tests, starting November 27.
“Sledging is not going to worry Virat Kohli, it doesn’t work against the great players and you’re better off leaving those guys alone...I think extra motivation will make them dig in more and get more runs. So you’re better off not saying much to them,” Waugh reasoned in a video posted by ESPNcricinfo.
The entire Australian team, including captain Tim Paine, was involved in a verbal spat with Virat Kohli during India’s last tour Down Under in 2018/19. Not only did Kohli score 282 runs in the 4-Test series, but he also became the first Indian captain to win a Test series (2-1) on Australian soil.
The hosts were without two of their key players – David Warner and Steve Smith – as the duo were serving ball-tampering bans. However, Smith did get the better of Kohli when Australia came to the subcontinent in 2016/17.
While the then Australian skipper emerged as the leading run-getter in the series with an aggregate of 499 runs, Kohli managed to score a meagre 46 runs from 3 Tests. Waugh thus feels Virat Kohli would want to outscore Smith this time around and help India retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
“He [Virat Kohli] is a world class player, he would wanna be the batsman of the series. Last time, he and Smith came up against each other in India, Smith really dominated with 3 hundreds and Kohli didn’t get many. That would be at the back of his mind that last time he was outscored by Steve Smith...So, he will want to score lot of runs and if he does, Indian will have a great chance of winning,” Waugh stated.
‘Virat Kohli wants India to prove themselves away from home,’ says Steve Waugh
Steve Waugh, who led the Aussies to victory at the 1999 World Cup, praised Virat Kohli for having matured and being in control both of himself and his team.
“He has definitely matured, he was always excitable on the field, maybe a little not in control. But now he is totally in control and he has got the team playing in his mode...He wants India to prove themselves away from home to justify the number one ranking. He has taken them to a level that maybe they didn’t get to before,” Waugh concluded.
The Indian contingent will be flying to Australia straight from the UAE once the ongoing IPL concludes on November 10. The tour will kickstart with the T20Is, followed by the ODIs and then the 4-Test series.
Published 06 Nov 2020, 12:32 IST