Former South Africa skipper AB de Villiers on Monday (May 11) shared his two cents on two of the greatest batsmen of the modern era – Virat Kohli and Steve Smith.
There is usually a comparison between Kohli and Smith among fans because of their remarkable batting credentials in the past decade.
As per De Villiers, Indian captain’s natural talent makes him a cricketing equivalent of Roger Federer while he likens the Australian batter’s mental fortitude to Rafael Nadal.
"It's a difficult one, but Virat is definitely the more natural ball-striker, there's no doubt about that," De Villiers said during an Instagram chat with former Zimbabwe cricketer-turned-commentator Pommie Mbangwa.
"In tennis terms, I'd say he's more like a (Roger) Federer whereas Smith is like a (Rafael) Nadal. Smith is mentally very strong and figures out a way of scoring runs - he doesn't look natural, but he ends up writing records and doing amazing things at the crease.
"I think mentally, Smith is one of the best I have ever seen. Virat has also scored runs all over the world and won games under pressure," he explained.
De Villiers further opined that when it comes to chasing, Kohli edges out Tendulkar as well.
"Sachin is a role model for both of us (him and Kohli). The way he stood out in his era, the things he achieved and with the grace he did all that is a great example for everyone," he said.
"And I think Virat will also say that he set the standards for us to follow.
"But personally, in a chase, I'd say Virat is the best I've seen in my life. Sachin was amazing in all formats and all situations, but Virat comes out on top while chasing."
The world might see Virat Kohli as an arrogant man for his on-field antics but for De Villiers, he is a friend, who has interests beyond cricket and is spiritual at one level.
"He's much deeper than just a cricket player...I think most people realise after a while that there's more to life than just cricket," AB de Villiers stated. "...Virat's always been a thinker, he experiments (with) a lot of things, he loves trying new things out - gym wise, what he puts in his mouth. He thinks a lot about life after life - what's to come, the different religions, we talk about everything."
(With PTI inputs)