Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Joe Root and Kane Williamson are widely regarded as the top-four batsmen of the current generation. For Root, Kohli is the most complete batsman out of the four and the England captain terms the ability of his India counterpart to chase down totals in limited-overs cricket as “extraordinary.”Also Read - Virat Kohli Was to be Issued Show Cause Notice by Sourav Ganguly; Ravi Shastri Saw It Coming But he Didn't: BCCI Source
“Virat is probably the most complete player out of the three of them across formats. His ability to chase things down in the limited-overs format and to pace it as well as he does as often as he does and be not out at the end is extraordinary,” Root told ESPNcricinfo. Also Read - No Virat Kohli in ICC Men's Test Team of the Year As Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant and Ravichandran Ashwin Make the Cut
Kohli has scored over 20,000 runs and 70 centuries across formats. Also Read - IND vs SA, 2nd ODI: With Series On The Line, India Hope to Put up Better Batting Show
“He’s got a very good all-round game but you wouldn’t say he’s weaker against spin or pace,” Root added.
Kohli’s England tour of 2014 as a batsman was forgettable but he made up for that by amassing close to 900 runs across formats during 2018.
“He obviously struggled on his first tour to England, but he scored really heavily when he came back. And similarly, elsewhere in the world, he’s put in massive performances. All that with the weight of India on his shoulders, as well,” Root said.
Root says he doesn’t try to measure himself up against the other three and even isn’t sure to put himself in the same bracket.
“I try not to measure myself against Kohli, Williamson and Smith. But I do watch a lot of how they go about constructing different types of innings across the three formats. You’re looking at three of the greatest players the game has seen. They’re three brilliant people to watch play and learn from. I’m not sure I’d put myself in their bracket, to be honest,” he said.
Root is impressed with how New Zealand captain Kane Williamson finds a way to trust his defense on any ssurface.
“I look at how late Kane plays the ball, how still and correct he is. How, under pressure, he finds a way to trust his defence on any given surface. That’s a great quality to have,” Root observed.
For Australian Smith, not the most elegant of batters, Root said hi9s ability to score runs and managing passage of play is exceptional.
“You look at Smith and at times he’s just awful to watch. But you’d pay to have him in your team. He’s a fantastic run-scorer. The way he thinks about the game and manages passages of play is exceptional,” he said. “He makes bowlers bowl where he wants them to and his self-confidence you can see by the way he leaves the ball and some of his idiosyncrasies.”
For Root, England teammate Jos Buttler is the most complete white-batsman his team has ever had.
“Jos has been the most complete white-ball batsman we’ve had ever. The way he can play a number of different scenarios. He can just demoralise attacks and very quickly swing games massively in your favour,” he said.
“I think he’s a phenomenal player and I still don’t think we’ve seen the best of him yet. Hopefully this summer in Test cricket can unlock doors for him. I saw a piece about AB de Villiers and he said it took him 50 Tests to work out his Test game. I think it’s very similar to Jos, to be honest,” he added.