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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

Virat Kohli is a great skipper and getting better, that’s scary: AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers’ camaraderie with India captain Virat Kohli is well known as both have played together for IPL outfit RCB for years.

cricket Updated: Oct 22, 2018 08:42 IST
Sandip Sikdar
Sandip Sikdar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
File image of AB De Villiers (left) with Virat Kohli.
File image of AB De Villiers (left) with Virat Kohli.(AFP)

Team India may have been drubbed in South Africa and England, but batting great AB de Villiers believes the team is capable of beating Australia when they tour Down Under for a four-Test series. Affectionately called Mr 360 for his all-round batting skills, de Villiers, 34, feels the fitness of their fast bowlers and the way India start the series will hold the key to their success in Australia.

“India have a very good chance. They came to South Africa and probably played better cricket in the three-Test series. They lost in England but once again that first Test was on a knife’s edge and could have gone either way which would have changed the complexion of the series. It (Aussie tour) will be challenging but they have the ability to win there,” said de Villiers, who announced his retirement from international cricket in May.

“(Jasprit) Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar (Kumar) weren’t ready in England so they (India) can get all the fast bowlers ready. They have, if not the best, one of the best bowling attacks in the world and we know what the batting unit is capable of. They have got to take the opportunities against Australia.”

The former Proteas skipper felt that if India lose the first Test, it can have a ‘snowballing effect’. “If you slip in the first Test there, it becomes a snowball and it’ll be similar to what happened in England. They slipped in South Africa, and in England it sort of snowballed down. They’ve got to start well in Australia, (then) a lot of things get easier,” said de Villiers, who holds the record of scoring the fastest ODI century in 31 balls.

ALSO READ: Virat Kohli crosses another milestone

“They just did not start well (in England) that is all. They competed and played really good cricket. They had the opportunities and when you are touring away from home, you have to take them.”

‘Kohli’s Ronaldo, me Messi’

De Villiers’ camaraderie with India captain Virat Kohli is well known, both having played for IPL outfit RCB for years, with some fans likening them to football greats Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

“There is definitely some chemistry about us batting together. We have a similar mindset about the game which we enjoy. It’s nice to bat with someone who understands the way you play and also the mutual understanding. He likes Ronaldo so let him be that and I’ll be Messi, will take that gladly,” laughed de Villiers, who played 114 Tests for South Africa.

Kohli ‘scary’

Praising the India captain, de Villiers added that Kohli has ‘learnt from mistakes’ in the last few years as a captain. “He is a really good captain and getting better. That is the scary part. As a batsman he has got areas where he can improve and that is also scary, so all in all, he is in a great place in his career,” he said.

First Published: Oct 21, 2018 08:26 IST

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