England vs India 2018: Steve Waugh holds Virat Kohli in high regard
India's glorified batsman and their current skipper, Virat Kohli has surged past Australia's Steve Smith to sit atop the batsman's rankings in Test Cricket.
After the little-master Sachin Tendulkar, Kohli is the only Indian batsman to have achieved this prestigious milestone. Following his remarkable show at Edgbaston, he dethroned his Australian counterpart, Smith, who has been the reigning No.1 Test batsman for more than 24 consecutive months.
As a result, the Indian star has drawn a lot of praise from cricketing experts and former legends from around the globe, though, not more than the one from another Australian legend, Steve Waugh.
But even before Kohli became the finest batsman across the format, Waugh had felt that the batsman's flawless technique and gallant approach towards the game makes him the best in the business.
Waugh couldn't help but compare the 29-year old with legends like Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Javed Miandad and Vivian Richards and believes that since AB de Villiers's retirement, Kohli has become an unrivalled No.1 batsman:
"Kohli has got the game to survive anywhere, I think he's got the best technique of anyone in world cricket ... Kohli really is the premier batsman in world cricket." Waugh said while talking to cricket.com.au in a recent interview. "And he likes the big occasion. Like Lara and Tendulkar and (Viv) Richards and Javed Miandad, and all the great batsmen, they want the big occasion and that brings out the best in their cricket."
On a big occasion at Edgbaston, Kohli did put on an absolute show. With a belligerent 149 in the first innings followed by a half-century in the second, Kohli not only defied his demons from the past but also single-handedly took India really close to an extraordinary triumph.
Waugh lauds the Indian skipper's competitive nature that truly distinguishes him from other Cricket leaders around the global arena. But the legendary Australian skipper also feels that this over-competitiveness can be his weakling, too.
Pointing out to the 2017 Australian tour to the Indian soils where Kohli had a miserable run, Waugh feels that there are certain aspects to his game that can be milked upon. In that particular tour, Kohli could only manage a dismal 46 runs in five innings whereas his opponent skipper Steve Smith, racked up a staggering 499 runs in the four-match series.
"He'll be putting a bit of pressure on himself, this (a series win in Australia) will be the feather in the cap if he can pull this off. Steve Smith had an incredible series (in India last year) and made three centuries and scored about 500 runs, and Virat hardly scored a run. So that would have been deflating for him, and he will look to square the ledger when he comes back to Australia," added Waugh.
The former Australian believes Australia's attack is "as good as anyone's" and Kohli would need to be in his finest touch to both pile-up runs and pull off victories down-under. For Waugh, putting runs on the board and consequently squeezing this Indian batting line-up under the pump is the key.
"I think the best way to control him is for our guys to play really positive cricket, to concentrate on executing the team plans and to score 300-plus runs in our first innings so we can put pressure on their batting line-up," the 53-year-old added.
"He (Kohli) will have to be on his game and particularly if he's chasing some big scores that Australia have put on the board. That will put pressure on his batting. I think the only thing Australia can do is really control how well we're playing. If we play really good cricket, then it's a bit like the last series in India where Steve Smith totally dominated him."