Virat Kohli and Steve Smith are arguably the top two cricketers of the current era and captains of the top two Test teams in the world. Outwardly, however, the similarity seems to end there.
While Kohli is expressive to the extent of suggesting rival Matt Renshaw to use the toilet with reference to his upset stomach, Smith on the other hand can react to a fiery Ishant Sharma’s ‘monkey-face’ with just a smile.
Their dissimilarity reached a crescendo when Kohli fell short of calling Smith a ‘cheat’ after the latter said he had a ‘brain-fade’ moment while attempting a DRS during the second India-Australia Test in Bangalore.
Shane Watson, who has played in Australia colours and the Indian Premier League, however said their difference rises from the fact that they both are similar type of players.
“I just know more than anything how much it means to these two guys. They’re both ultra-competitive. Virat’s outwardly more emotional about how much he loves winning. Steve has that same burning ambition ... he’s just not as visible as Virat,” Watson, who has captained Australia in one Test, nine ODIs and one T20Is, told The Daily Telegraph.
‘Greats of international cricket’
Watson, who plays with Kohli in Royal Challengers Bangalore, added that the two young captains are poised for greatness in future.
“I think it’s two players who are the best in the world and in time they will be greats of international cricket,” he said.
“To see two youngish skippers going head-to-head like this in such an awesome series ... a lot of people love to be able to see two guys putting it all on the line for their teams.”
Kohli, an emotional captain
Watson, who retired from international and first-class cricket in 2016, praised Kohli’s attitude towards his own players as captain.
“He (Kohli) expects everyone in his team to be exactly the same as him, which is a great thing as a leader for him and for the Indian team, because he expects a lot of his teammates,” Watson, 35, said.
“He expects everyone to be on board with exactly how he is, and of course he’s more outward with how he does that, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad at all.
“I wouldn’t say he’s got a temper, he just rides the highs and lows of the game from an emotional point of view. He wants to win, he hates losing and as a captain that’s how he’s built.”
Kohli, who recently led India to a record 19-Test unbeaten run, also pushes the limits as a player and as a skipper – a fact that has impressed Watson.
“One of the things I absolutely love about Virat is he’s got such a deep down burning desire to win - and obviously he’s up to pushing the limits,” he said.
“It’s a great thing for his team because they just get behind him as well.”