Kohli stood head and shoulders above the rest in the opening Test against England scoring 149 and 51 to pull the monkey off his back and put the ghosts of the 2014 campaign to rest. Despite his courageous effort, India went down by 31 runs at Edgbaston.
"He (Kohli) has got the game to survive anywhere, I think he's got the best technique of anyone in world cricket," Waugh told cricket.com.au. "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."
Kohli recently surpassed Steve Smith to become the top-ranked batsman in ICC Test Batting rankings after the former Australian skipper enjoyed 32 months at the top of the table. Waugh still believes that Smith is the 'hungriest batsman' but didn't shy back from comparing Kohli to some of the biggest names in the game.
"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," said Waugh. "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."
India are set to tour Australia for three Twenty20 Internationals, four Tests and three One-Day Internationals later this year. The last time these two heavyweights of the game met in the red-ball format was in India, in 2017, where Smith peeled off three centuries from four matches to amass 499 runs at 71.29, while Kohli could only manage 46 runs at an average of 9.20. The hosts still managed to win the four-match Test series 2-1.
Waugh thinks Kohli will try to prove a point when he comes to Australia, and that will only put more pressure on the 29-year-old. "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," said Waugh.
"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. So that would have been deflating for him, and he will look to square the ledger when he comes back to Australia."
It was Kohli's tremendous performance in the Test series in Australia in 2014 that took him to a whole new level. Kohli finished with 692 runs at 86.50, including four hundreds, but Smith still managed to outscore him as he accumulated 769 runs with Australia clincing the series comfortably. Smith, who is serving a one-year ban, won't be around this time and Waugh reckons Australia will have to play positive cricket if they want to control Kohli.
"I think 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," Waugh pointed out. "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 on the board. That will put pressure on his batting."
"I think the only thing Australia can do is really control how well we're playing. If we play really good cricket, then it's a bit like the last series in India where Steve Smith totally dominated him."
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First Published: August 9, 2018, 5:39 PM IST