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India vs South Africa: Series not about me and AB de Villiers, says Virat Kohli

With South Africa’s top draw returning after a break for the India Test series, comparisons between the good friends and IPL teammates are inevitable.

cricket Updated: Dec 30, 2017 22:58 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times, Cape Town
India vs South Africa,South Africa vs India,AB de Villiers
Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli attends a press conference in Cape Town on Saturday. India are to play a three-Test series against South Africa, starting Jan. 5.(AP)

Brothers-in-arms during the Indian Premier League, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers find themselves at opposite ends in one of the most anticipated series in recent times. Two of the best batsmen of our generation, Kohli and de Villiers spend two months every year in the same dressing room. So, it’s not difficult to gauge the depth of their friendship.

Only once in two or three years do they find themselves in a situation like this. And de Villiers not having played a Test since January, 2016 until his low-key comeback against Zimbabwe, has added to the anticipation.

READ | Indian batsmen hop & skip to tackle bounce in South Africa

However, Kohli isn’t ready to accept the series being hyped up as a battle between the two.

“It’s not like only two guys are playing in this series. AB is a great friend of mine. I respect the way he plays the game and I’ve always respected him as a person as well. But when we’re playing against each other — it’s not that we cross the line with each other, we’re just not like that, we can’t — it’s just that we want to get AB out and the opposition will want to get me out or Pujara or Rahane,” said Kohli after the first day of India’s training ahead of the Cape Town Test, starting on Friday.

READ | South Africa vs India: Full schedule of cricket series starting January 5

“I don’t think there’s any difference in terms of mindset in any of the batsmen in the side. Every player wants to be the stand out batsman and make contributions towards the team winning. Unless you have that as a group, you don’t have too many chances of winning a series,” he said.

De Villiers lived up to his IPL fame when South Africa last toured India, scoring 358 runs, but couldn’t prevent a 0-3 series defeat. He will want to make the most of this series in home conditions. But Kohli doesn’t want to think only about him.

VIDEO | India get down to business ahead of Cape Town Test vs South Africa

“Some people may have brilliant individual performances and then you’ll be fine with one or two people doing well. Right now the hunger we have in the group, everyone wants an opportunity to perform and that’s very exciting,” he said.

“I can’t speak for the opposition because AB hasn’t played much Test cricket since he played against us and he’s coming back after a while. But look, setting apart all the spice created on the outside, the team that plays well together for a longer period has a better chance of winning the series.”

First Published: Dec 30, 2017 22:57 IST