Batsman AB de Villiers has insisted Royal Challengers Bangalore team-mate Virat Kohli is “much deeper than just a cricket player.”
De Villiers and Kohli have been team-mates at Bangalore in the Indian Premier League for several years. They were rivals in Test, ODI and T20I cricket, too, until the South African retired from international cricket in 2018.
“Obviously when it comes to the IPL in India, it's been more than friendship. Virat obviously – not only during the ipl, we chat throughout the year, which means it's different than just the IPL or cricketing friendship,” De Villiers was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“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. I think we all fall into that bubble initially. But 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.
“We go pretty deep and his missus as well, Anushka, we have very deep conversations, which is fantastic. We talk about children and family. We're waiting for that first little Kohli to come. It's a good friendship and we always find a way to talk about cricket as well, but 90 percent of the time we talk about other stuff. It's refreshing and in the middle of a very intense IPL tournament.”
De Villiers compares Kohli and Smith
De Villiers, too, is the latest cricket personality to draw comparisons between Kohli and Australian batsman Steven Smith. Smith and Kohli currently occupy first and second position, respectively, in the International Cricket Council's rankings for Test batsmen.
“It's a difficult one, but Virat is definitely the more natural ball-striker, there's no doubt about that. 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 added.