Former South Africa captain AB de Villiers described India captain Virat Kohli as the ‘best batsman in the world’. Speaking to Sport 24, the former Proteas batsman said: “Virat’s performances over the last while have been incredible and I can’t see it stopping very soon. I have played with him for eight years now in the IPL and you can never take the class out of the guy.”
The 35-year-old added that Kohli is a human, and will have bad patches in his career. “However, he is human after all and, like any other cricketer, he will go through patches from time to time where he has to go back to the basics and work his way through it again.”
But de Villiers further said that the 30-year-old has the ability to push back from bad phases which makes him the best batsman in the world at the moment. “I believe it’s his personality and mental strength that gets him through those moments and makes him the best ODI player in the world at the moment.”
Kohli and de Villiers will play together for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the upcoming edition of Indian Premier League. “I see lots of similarities between myself and Virat. We are both fighters and don’t enjoy losing, we love batting together and taking the game away from teams. (De Villiers has left South Africa to partake in the IPL, which starts on 23 March).”
Speaking on the upcoming World Cup in the UK, de Villiers pegged India, Australia, Pakistan, and England as the favourites to win the tournament, ahead of South Africa. “The World Cup is a tough tournament. I have played in three of them and it’s never easy. You always feel like you’ve got a good squad, but once the tournament starts you very quickly understand that there are a lot of teams that are there to win it and have the ability to do so. Playing at a World Cup is as high pressure as you can get and tournament cricket is pretty intense. I do believe South Africa have a chance, like we did at any other World Cup, because we are a world-class team with plenty of match-winners,” he said.
“The Proteas are certainly in the running, but I won’t say they are the favourites, to be honest with you. India and England are looking strong, Australia have won five World Cups in the past and Pakistan claimed the Champions Trophy in the UK two years ago. Those four teams are probably the favourites, but the way the Proteas have been playing in the 50-over format of late has been encouraging. Some of South Africa’s batsmen and bowlers are ranked within the top 10 in the world, so of course, we have a chance,” he added.