The Kohli, Smith race spices up rivalry

  • Sanjjeev K Samyal, Hindustan Times, Melbourne
  • Updated: Jan 29, 2016 01:36 IST
Steven Smith on Virat Kohli’s celebrations in Adelaide: ‘I don’t think you need to do that kind of thing when someone gets out’. (Reuters Photo)

In Tests, Virat Kohli has 11 hundreds, and Steve Smith 13. In ODIs, Kohli is way ahead with 25 hundreds in 171 games; Smith has only five but in 100 fewer games.

Both have been in spectacular form in the last year, and hence in the running for the title of world’s top batsman. Naturally, as it happens between the best, there has to be a personal competition going on.

While it seemed to all that the trigger for Kohli’s sledge of Smith during the first Twenty20 --- after the Aussie batsman was dismissed --- was the latter providing on-field commentary, their teammates have pointed out the personal rivalry. On Thursday, both Shane Watson and R Ashwin gave the same reason as the trigger for the Adelaide incident.

“I don’t know, it’s probably a personal battle between them. I think both of them are very good competitors. They know what they are doing, and they don’t go down without a fight. It’s good to have such competition on the field. Both of them are champion cricketers, and I think it just adds spice to the game a little bit, so I don’t mind it at all,” said Ashwin.

Watson said: “Virat is a very excitable dude anyway, so he gets involved in a contest. And obviously, him and Steve got a big and healthy rivalry as well. The most incredible batsman in the world at the moment, so I think there is a healthy rivalry there anyway and I will be very surprised if that affected the way Steve bats and he knows when to switch on. It is certainly a challenge to have a microphone and talking in between balls, but if someone is going to do it, Smith is, the way he is batting. Virat plays with his heart on his sleeve and I certainly know that from experience. He sometimes gets into trouble because of it, but that’s the thing that drives him as well.”

For those looking that extra spice, there won’t be any more fireworks between the two as Smith has been rested for the last two T20s.

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