Steve Waugh, the former Australia captain, has lauded Virat Kohli as the best batsman in the world, saying he can “survive anywhere” and that he possessed “the best technique of anyone in world cricket”.
Kohli became the No.1 batsman in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Rankings last week, after totalling 200 runs in India’s 31-run loss to England in the Edgbaston Test last week, an ICC report on Thursday said.
In doing so, Kohli toppled Australia’s Steve Smith and became the first Indian after Sachin Tendulkar in 2011 to assume the top spot in the rankings. Waugh previously rated Kohli as highly as AB de Villiers in terms of technique, but with the South African now having retired, he said Kohli stood alone as the world’s best batsman.
“He (Kohli) has got the game to survive anywhere, I think he’s got the best technique of anyone in world cricket,” Waugh was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au on Thursday “He and AB de Villiers have got the best techniques, and AB de Villiers is not playing Test cricket so that makes him (Kohli) the stand-out player.
“I think Steve Smith is probably the hungriest batsman, but he’s obviously not playing for 12 months, so Kohli really is the premier batsman in world cricket. “And he likes the big occasion. Like (Brian) Lara and Tendulkar and (Viv) Richards and
Javed Miandad, and all the great batsmen, they want the big occasion and that brings out the best in their cricket.” That hunger to perform on the big occasion was prominent in Birmingham last week, when with 149 runs in the first innings, he surpassed his aggregate score of 134 in five matches when India toured England in 2014.
But Waugh isn’t sure more of the same can be expected when India tour Australia at the end of the year. The India captain went through a lean patch when they hosted Australia in 2017, aggregating just 46 in five innings.
Waugh believed Kohli’s hunger to set that record straight will play into the hands of the Australian quicks. “Steve Smith had an incredible series (in India last year) and made three centuries and scored about 500 runs, and Virat hardly scored a run,” said Waugh.
“So that would have been deflating for him, and he will look to square the ledger when he comes back to Australia. “The best way to control him is for our guys to play really positive cricket, to concentrate on executing the team plans and to score 300-plus runs in our first innings so we can put pressure on their batting line-up.
“Our attack is as good as anyone’s and, in our conditions, he’ll have to be on his game and particularly if he’s chasing some big scores that Australia have put won the board. That will put pressure on his batting.”