India captain Virat Kohli is regarded as one of the best batsmen in the world at the moment. Kohli has dominated over every world-class bowling attack in the world. Be it Australia’s line-up of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon, or South Africa’s attack of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Imran Tahir – Kohli has managed to find a way to counter some of the best bowlers in the modern-day cricket, and has quickly risen among the ranks.
In a recent interview, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who played opposite Virat Kohli for the first time at the 2008 U-19 World Cup explained the reasons behind Kohli’s meteoric rise. Kohli-led India had won the tournament in 2008, and had also defeated Williamson-led Kiwis in the semifinal.
Speaking on Star Sports’ chat show Cricket Connected, Williamson talked about how Kohli has matured over the years and has also developed the ability to make really good decisions. “You can say that it was only a matter of time before he was making some strong inroads to the full international scene.
“At the moment, leading the way in cricket and setting the standard as a batter and breaking all these records. A lot of that probably has to come down to his maturity, his ability to make very good decisions,” he said.
“Not only is he gifted with his ability and his natural ability, but you’re marrying that up with this constant drive and hunger to improve and just be better day in and day out. Yeah, we are fortunate to play against each other, it’s been great to meet at a young age and follow his progress and journey,” Williamson added.
Kohli and Williamson are known to be good friends and were seen chatting away at the boundary during the 5th and final T20I match between India and New Zealand this year in February, visuals of which went viral during the match. India had already taken a 4-0 lead in the series by then and both the captains were being rested for the dead rubber.
Before India’s tour to New Zealand, the Kiwis had suffered a Test series whitewash in Australia, and Kohli had defended Williamson in a press conference. “I don’t think leadership can always be determined by the results. It’s also about how you can get the team together and get the guys functioning under you as well, which I think Kane has done wonderfully well.
“He has the respect of his teammates and he has the trust of his teammates, is what I can see, and he’s also a very, very smart cricketer,” Kohli had said.