Australia’s explosive opener David Warner weighed in and pointed out certain similarities and a few differences between cricket’s two modern-day stalwarts – Virat Kohli and Steve Smith. Asked who is a better batsman between Kohli and Smith, Warner offered an insider’s perspective about their rivalry and what separates these two from the rest of their contemporaries. The left-handed opener said Kohli likes to dominate oppositions and scores at a rapid rate while Smith is more intent on having fun in the middle.Also Read - BCCI Selectors in Dilemma Over Rohit Sharma or Virat Kohli as ODI Captain For South Africa Tour: Report
Both Kohli and Smith have redefined modern-day batting with their consistency, skill and unmatched hunger to score runs. Both are aggressive players who, sometimes, let their emotions take over but when it comes to batting, they are unshakable. “Virat’s passion and drive to score runs is different to what Steve’s would be,” Warner said while speaking to Harsha Bhogle on ‘Cricbuzz in Conversation’. Also Read - AUS vs ENG Dream11 Team Prediction Ashes 1st Test: Captain, Fantasy Cricket Hints, Probable Playing 11s- Australia vs England, Team News For Today's Test at Brisbane Cricket Ground at 5.30 AM IST December 8 Wednesday
“Steve is going out there for a hit in the middle, that’s how he sees things. He’s hitting them out in the middle, he’s having fun, he’s enjoying himself, just does not want to get out.” Also Read - Ashes 2021-22: Ben Stokes Shares Emotional Note, Remembers Father on Eve of 1st Test Against Australia
Warner feels, while Kohli is batting he is aware that if he sticks around the middle his team will be on top of the proceedings.
“Virat obviously doesn’t want to get out but he knows if he spends a certain amount of time out there, he’s going to score plenty of runs at a rapid rate. He’s going to get on top of you. That allows the guys coming in, especially in the Indian team you’ve got a lot of players who can be flamboyant as well.”
The 33-year-old opener added that both men are mentally strong and a good knock by them boosts the morale of the entire team. “When it comes to cricket, they both have got the mental strength, the mental capacity to score runs. They both love spending time in the middle.
“They stabilise, they boost morale – if they score runs, everyone else’s moral is up. If they are out cheaply you almost sense that on the field that everyone ‘now we all have to step up’. It’s a very bizarre situation,” he added.
Asked about the similarities between himself and Kohli, who are both live wires on the field, Warner said the passion to do better than the opponent keeps him going.
“I can’t speak for Virat, obviously, but it’s almost like we got this thing in us when we go in the middle we need to prove people wrong, prove someone wrong.”
“If you’re in that contest, and if I’m going at him for example, you’re thinking, ‘Alright, I’m going to score more runs than him, I’m going to take a quick single on him’. You are trying to better that person in that game. That’s where the passion comes from.”
Warner also explained how he breaks down a match into smaller competitions.
“Obviously you want to win the game but you almost break it down to: If I can score more runs than Virat, or if Pujara scores more runs than Steve Smith, you have these little contests and that’s how you try to narrow the game in the sense that if we do these little things, we can be ahead of the game or we can be behind the game.
“The passion is driven by…I know my sense – one, the will to win and two, wanting to do better than that person in the opposition,” said Warner.