Former South Africa captain AB de Villiers was recently put under a tough situation by his fans as they asked him to choose his favourite between ‘run-machine’ Virat Kohli, ‘genius’ Steve Smith and ‘batting legend’ Sachin Tendulkar during an Instagram Live session.
The former South Africa captain, during a conversation with commentator Pommie Mbangwa, was asked by fans to first pick between Kohli and Smith.
ABD, who plays for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (IPL) under Kohli, picked his IPL captain over the Aussie for his ability to score and win games all around the world.
“It’s difficult (to pick between Virat Kohli and Steve Smith). Virat is definitely the more natural ball striker. Smudge (Smith) is also up to that.
“Let’s do it in tennis terms. Virat is like Federer, and Smith is more like Nadal. He’s (Smith) mentally very strong and figured out a way of scoring runs, he looks odd at the crease, doesn’t look natural but he ends up breaking records and doing amazing things at the crease. But my pick is Virat, who is more of a natural ball-player. He’s scored runs all over the world, won games under pressure, so he’s my pick,” de Villiers said.
Then, the next question was even tougher as a fan asked him to pick a favourite between Kohli and Tendulkar.
“Oh, Sachin or Virat? Good question” ABD laughs. He continued, “Sachin for both (him and Kohli) of us is like a role model. The way he stood out back in the day in his era and the things he achieved and with the grace he did all of that, it’s a great example for everyone. So, for Virat and myself.”
Further, De Villiers stated why he was picking Kohli for one aspect of the game. He explained, “I think Virat will also say that he’s (Tendulkar) the main guy, he’s the dude. He set the standards for guys like us to follow. Personally for me, especially in a chase, I’d say Virat is the best I’ve ever seen in my life. There’s no-one that beats him when it comes to… the opposition scores 330, and you’ve got to go chase it down. Good luck.”
Describing Tendulkar as ‘amazing’ in all formats of the game, De Villiers opted to ‘sit on the fence’ and did not pick who is better between Tendulkar and Kohli.
“Sachin was amazing in all formats, all sorts of situations, but Virat tops him there when it comes to chasing under pressure. For me, that’s where I rate sportsman, when it comes to tennis, golf… the Tiger Woods of the world. When the heat is really on, you feel like your whole body is numb, but he (Kohli) stands up, and he does amazing things. That’s what Virat does under pressure,” said the Protea.
The only Indian sportsperson to be given the Bharat Ratna honour, Tendulkar, has scored 34,357 international runs across all the three formats – 18,426 in ODIs and 15,921 in Tests. Apart from this, he is the only batsman to score 100 international centuries (51 Tests and 49 ODIs).