Waugh asked Smith not to sledge during the start of Kohli's innings    Getty Images
Waugh asked Smith not to sledge during the start of Kohli’s innings Getty Images

Former Australian skipper Steve Waugh has called on the Steven Smith-led side to be cautious while indulging in verbal battle against Indian captain Virat Kohli in the four-match Test series starting Thursday at Pune. Waugh, who never shied away from an on-field confrontation during his cricketing days, has suggested that Australia might need to consider provoking Kohli, who has been in tremendous form ever since he took over Test captaincy from MS Dhoni. The 28-year-old is currently enjoying a good run of form at the moment. He has notched up 1168 Test runs in one season, a first by any batsman at home. He also became the first batsman in history to slam four successive double hundreds in consecutive series. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs Australia, 1st Test at Pune

“I wouldn’t recommend firing him up to start with, maybe that’s something you keep up your sleeve if he starts to score runs,” Waugh told cricket.com.au in an interview. “Like anyone, he’s vulnerable. He’s under pressure. He’s got that massive weight of expectation on his shoulders. They (the Indian public) expect him to get a hundred every time he goes out to bat now, and he pretty much does. But there are going to be times when he has a bit of luck go against him, play a bad shot, loses concentration, maybe thinks too much about what he should be doing in the future not what he’s doing right now,” he added.

The former Australian skipper also maintained that Kohli is a ‘fierce cricketer’, much like the Aussies, who plays every ball as a priority, like it’s the most important ball of his life, whether he’s batting, in the field or he’s captaining.

“Virat Kohli is pretty much the way we play cricket. He’s very aggressive, he’s in your face, positive, backs himself, tries to keep the match moving forward,” Waugh said.

“He’s a tough adversary because you know you’re not going to get anything from him. He?s just going to play it so hard. He’s great for Indian cricket and consequently his team play in the same vein and the same fashion ? they?re in your face, they play aggressive, positive and they try to keep the game going and try and win as quick they can,” he added.

Earlier, former Australian batsman Michael Hussey had said that Kohli will be Australia’s “public enemy number one” during the Test series. He, however, had advised Smith and Co. not to sledge him as it would bring the best out of the Indian captain.