Virat Kohli a really strong leader, says Steve Waugh

Kohli’s winning ratio of more than 57 per cent is the best of any captain to lead India in more than two Tests

By TT Bureau in Calcutta
  • Published 6.12.18, 4:11 AM
  • Updated 6.12.18, 11:41 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Steve Waugh The Telegraph picture

It is no secret that captain Virat Kohli will hold the key to India’s success in the upcoming Test series against Australia. So what exactly will drive Kohli himself?

According to former Australia captain Steve Waugh, the will to redress a poor personal contribution to the most recent India-Australia Test series and the desire to lead India to its first triumph Down Under will be driving Kohli through the coming weeks.

Waugh says that even though Kohli will be looking to secure the Border-Gavaskar Trophy for India for the first time in Australia, the 30-year-old will also be keen to ensure that his individual record against the Aussies looks healthy.

“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 was quoted as saying by 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,” he added.

On India's previous Test visit to Australia four years ago, 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, and also David Warner, absent from this series, Kohli has an opportunity to stamp his authoritative class upon the summer.

Waugh says it’s Kohli’s impact as a leader as much as his 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.

“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.”

Kohli’s winning ratio of more than 57 per cent is the best of any captain to lead India in more than two Tests.