Former Australian skipper Steve Waugh has urged the side to not get into a war of words with Virat Kohli during the upcoming four-Test home series as it might end up providing “extra motivation” to not just him but also his teammates.
The Border-Gavaskar Trophy will begin with a day-night encounter at the Adelaide Oval on December 17, followed by Tests at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (December 26), the Sydney Cricket Ground (January 7) and the Gabba (January 15).
The tour will begin with three ODIs starting on November 27, followed by as many T20 Internationals.
“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 said in a video posted by ‘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.”
Australia captain Tim Paine and his men were involved a spat with Kohli during India’s last tour of Australia with ended with the visitors registering their first ever Test series (2-1) win Down Under.
Former skipper Michael Clarke had later claimed that Australia had “sucked up” to Kohli in order to land fat deals with IPL franchises, something which was rejected by Paine.
Steve Smith was serving a ball-tampering ban the last time India toured Australia in 2018-19 and Waugh believes Kohli would want to outdo the former skipper this time.
“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.”
During Australia’s tour of India in 2016-17, Smith had posted three hundreds in the four-Test series which the visitors lost 1-2.
Waugh feels Kohli is now much more in control as a player and would be keen to lead the team to a series win abroad.
“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…,” the former batsman said.
“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,” he signed off.