Former Australian skipper Steve Waugh likened India’s star batsman Virat Kohli to batting legend Sachin Tendulkar and hailed the Indian vice-captain in the shorter formats as the greatest T20 batsman at present, Times of India reports.
Waugh, one of the game’s greatest ever captains, feels Kohli will have to be at his very best if India are to clinch the 2016 World T20 title, especially after their shock defeat against New Zealand in the tournament opener on Tuesday at Nagpur.
"If India have to win this World T20, Kohli will have to score a lot of runs," Waugh said, before adding that the way Kohli was consistently scoring runs reminded him of one of the legends of the game.
"The greatest T20 batsman right now is Virat Kohli. He has an average of over 50 and an amazing strike rate. I see a bit of Tendulkar in him every time he walks into bat," Waugh told Sports Today.
Waugh also praised Kohli’s aggressive attitude towards the game which he feels many Australians have in abundance but also reminded the 27-year-old to keep his cool under pressure situations.
"Kohli is a lot like an Australian player. He loves playing against Australia and loves the aggressive Australian crowds. Kohli is the ultimate cricketer but the only question for him is if he can keep his cool under pressure," the 50-year-old said.
Talking about India's defeat against New Zealand, Waugh expressed surprise at the manner in which the Indian batsmen, renowned for their ability to play on slow, turning tracks, capitulated against the spin trio fo Nathan McCullum, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi.
Also read: South Africa vs England, T20 World Cup 2016: Where to watch live, LIVE Score Updates/ Scorecard, Ball by Ball Commentary and moreIt was the Black Caps fifth victory against India in as many T20Is – a fact which didn’t escape Waugh’s attention – but the former Australian skipper is confident that India can put the shock defeat behind them and pull their act together for the rest of the tournament.
"If you ask Indian players if they mind playing on a turning, they would not mind, because they are used to that,” Waugh said. “I don't think that is an excuse. Maybe they were caught out by the quality of the New Zealand bowling the other night. Maybe they were a little complacent.”
“Having said that, they have not beaten New Zealand in a T20 game. Maybe it was one of those days where everything goes awry, nothing goes right. They need to move on and focus on the next game," he added.