Steve Waugh, the former Australia captain, said that Virat Kohli’s aggressive on-field demeanour during India’s recent tour of South Africa was ‘over the top’ at times, but added that the Indian skipper was still on a learning curve.
“I have seen him in South Africa and I feel that he was a little over the top. But that’s a learning thing for a captain,” Waugh told Press Trust of India. “As a captain, he is still developing and needs some time to pull in his excitement factor and emotions but that’s the way he plays.”
Waugh pointed out that not everyone in the Indian team had the same instincts as Kohli.
“I think he just needs to get a bit aware that everyone in the side can’t play in that fashion. Someone like (Ajinkya) Rahane and (Cheteshwar) Pujara are very calm and quiet guys so he needs to just understand that some players are different,” felt Waugh. “At times he probably needs to tone his aggression down and at times he needs to lift it, so he needs to work it out what’s right.”
However, Waugh praised Kohli’s leadership and the Indian captain’s incredible run of form with the bat.
“He (Kohli) is leading very well right now. He has that charisma and that X-factor and so he wants all the rest of the team to follow him. He wants the team to play positively all the time and win as quickly as he can,” said Waugh. “They have got a very good win record in the last couple of years in all forms of the game. Virat has high aspirations from his team. He wants to be No.1 across all formats which is difficult to do these days.”
The tour of South Africa was the first leg in a long overseas Test season for the Indian team, with major series coming up against England in mid-2018, followed by Australia in 2018-19. Waugh felt that the Australians would be favourites when India travelled, owing to home advantage, but emphasised that Kohli would be the crucial man for India, like he was on the team’s last tour in 2014-15 when he amassed 692 runs in four Tests.
“Australia will be favourites in Australia because we have got such a great record, just like India in India. Virat would obviously be the key in Australia. He played amazing in Australia last time,” said Waugh. “India are a very confident young side and they are playing with great confidence and passion that their captain believes in. They believe they can win in Australia no doubt.
“To be fair, the pitches will suit India more than the past because the pitches are very benign at the moment. So they will definitely suit the Indian batsmen and the spinners will come into action more. So I think it would be a very competitive series.”