During his time as commentator for the first two India vs Australia Tests of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Mark Waugh ruffled up some feathers. His on-air spats – albeit in good spirits – with fellow commentators Ravi Shastri and Dinesh Karthik – led to a bit of controversy and its believed that the same could have played a part in the BCCI not extending Waugh’s contract for the remaining two Tests and replace him with Mitchell Johnson in Indore.
Besides the verbal tiffs, another topic Waugh had targetted was Virat Kohli’s catching in Nagpur, after the former India captain put down three catches. In the first innings, Kohli dropped Steve Smith when he was batting on six and in the second, grassed a chance of David Warner and Pater Handscomb each. Waugh was a tad harsh on his assessment of Kohli, which expectedly, drew the ire of fans.
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“Fielding at slip off the spinners, you got to judge the depth you want to stand. I felt that the catch that Kohli put down, he was rushed into taking the catch. I think there are a few technical things that Kohli can work on. I think his feet are too wide apart. His weight is often on the back of heels rather than on his feet. Sometimes, he looks like he is not expecting the ball. He has got to be expecting the ball every single delivery,” the former Australia opener had said on Star Sports.
However, Waugh acknowledged what while he did raise questions over the catching, he never questioned or said anything about Kohli’s batting. In fact, if anything, Waugh felt Kohli’s innings of 44 in Delhi was the best and most assured he’s looked in recent times in Tests.
“I wasn’t sledging his batting. I was sledging his catching, which he did improve actually. He worked hard on it. But I cannot believe that Virat Kohli hasn’t scored a century in 39 innings,” Waugh said on Fox Cricket. “The way he has batted and even his catching it shows that he has felt the pressure, no doubt about it. He is a great player so he is not used to not scoring runs but I did feel like that in Delhi he was getting back to his best.”
Sitting with Waugh in the Fox studios was former Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin who feels this is the perfect opportunity for Kohli to roar back to form. Kohli has excelled playing against Australia and even though he missed out a chance in the first innings of Indore Test scoring a composed 22, Virat can get a big one in the remaining three innings of the BGT, reckons Haddin.
“He’s started to look ok in the Test match in India. He got undone by a beautiful bit of bowling from Todd Murphy but he came down the wicket, took the spinners on and he looks like he is ready to explode, for that big score. We know he likes playing against us so maybe this is the opportunity,” he said.