Legendary cricketer Steve Waugh has advised Australia to not sledge Virat Kohli during their upcoming series as it won’t have any effect on the India captain. Kohli will lead a jumbo India squad for a nearly two-month long tour of Australia during which they will play three T20Is, three ODIs and four Tests. Also Read - India vs Australia 2020 Live Cricket Score, 1st ODI, Sydney Cricket Ground: Rahul Departs as India Continue to Struggle in 375 Chase
Waugh says verbal duel may end up providing extra motivation to the touring party and their batsmen may end up scoring more runs. Also Read - Happy Birthday, Suresh Raina: Wishes Pour in as Former India International Turns 34
“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,” Waugh told ESPNcricinfo. “I think any extra motivation will make them dig in more and get more runs. So you’re better off not saying much to him.” Also Read - Adam Gilchrist Apologises After Offering Condolences to Navdeep Saini Instead of Mohammed Siraj During Commentary
Australian team has avoided a softer stance when it comes to mind games during matches since the 2018 ball-tampering scandal shook them to the core. With the likes of Steve Smith and David Warner serving their year-long ban for involvement in the incident, India registered a maiden Test series win in Australia with the duo absent.
Former captain Michael Clarke had claimed earlier this year that Australia and most teams “sucked up” to India considering their powerful status in world cricket and in order to land good IPL deals which was rejected by current Test captain Tim Paine.
With Smith back to playing international cricket, Waugh says Kohli will be eager to outscore him his time around after being outdone in their previous battle in red-ball cricket (20166-17 tour of India when Smith scored three centuries).
“He (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 three 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,” Waugh said.
“So, he will want to score lot of runs and if he does, India will have a great chance of winning,” he added.
Kohli, widely regarded as the best all-formats batsman of the current generation, has grown more mature, feels Waugh.
“He has definitely matured, he was always excitable on the field, may be 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 may be they didn’t get to before,” Waugh said.