XtraTime Web Desk: Legendary Australian cricketer Steve Waugh feels that India skipper Virat Kohli will be highly ambitious to secure the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and beside that he will also try to play better than ever when the two sides will face each other from tomorrow.
“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,” Waugh told cricket.com.au recently.
“The last series in India where Steve Smith totally dominated him … Smith had this incredible series and scored about (500) runs, and Virat hardly scored a run.
“So that would have been deflating for him, and he’ll look to square the ledger when he comes back to Australia.”
Kohli has already proved that his peerless batting skills can prosper in Australian conditions.
On India’s previous Test visit to Australia four years ago, in addition to inheriting the captaincy from M.S. Dhoni who stood down amid his team’s 2-0 defeat, Kohli was the visitors’ leading run scorer with 692 at 86.50 – a record for any India batter in a Test series against Australia.
He was, however, once again eclipsed by Smith who posted 769 at an average of 128.17 during that Test summer, including centuries in the first innings of all four Tests.
With Smith absent from the coming four-match Domain Test series – along with former Australia vice-captain David Warner, who is also serving a 12-month ban for involvement in the ball-tampering scandal – Kohli sees an opportunity to stamp his authoritative class upon the summer.
Having missed out during India’s tour-opening T20 defeat at the hands of Australia in Brisbane, the world’s top-ranked test and ODI batter flayed Australia’s bowling as the architect of India’s perfectly crafted run-chase and six-wicket win at the SCG.
He followed that up last week in Sydney with a crisp 87-ball 64 in the tourists’ only first-class warm-up match against a Cricket Australia XI prior to the opening Test at Adelaide Oval beginning Thursday.
Waugh says it’s Kohli’s impact as a leader as much as his indisputable brilliance with the bat that gives India perhaps their best chance of a Test series win in Australia, more than 70 years after the first touring team arrived here.
Kohli’s winning ratio of more than 57 per cent is the best of any India captain to lead the cricket-obsessed nation in more than two Tests.
And should the tourists complete an unprecedented whitewash in Australia, he will overtake Dhoni’s benchmark of 27 Test wins (from seven fewer matches) to become India’s most successful captain in the game’s elite form.
“He leads the way, and the other players follow him,” Waugh said
“They want to battle for him, they want to play for him as a captain.
“That’s a big thing to have as a captain – the guys are playing for you, and playing for the country.
“He’s a really strong leader and he’ll be tough to hold back in this series.”