Virat Kohli is a Showman, Steve Smith an Artist: Kepler Wessels

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The debate about who is the better batsman out of Virat Kohli and Steve Smith is heating up with each passing series. And even though the cricket pundits across the world choose to not get involved in this debate, former Australia and South Africa star Kepler Wessels has given his own opinion surrounding the above-mentioned batsmen.

There is hardly been ever a time when world cricket has seen so many players operating at their best and competing so hard to get better than the other. Kohli who was in superb form in 2017, is currently regarded the next heir to Sachin Tendulkar.

However, one man who is right on his tail and currently higher than Kohli on ICC test ranking is Australian captain Steven Smith. The 28-year-old recently led his team to a 4-0 Ashes victory, where he scored 2 hundred and one double hundred. Smith’s performance over the past 2-3 years has led to many cricket followers calling him the second best Australian player after the great Sir Don Bradman.

Speaking to CricketNext, Wessels said, “I think Kohli is terrific and I like the aggressive brand of cricket he plays. I like the way he can turn a match and the impact he has across all three formats. He is definitely one of the best batsmen at the moment. I like his personality and his aggression and the way he takes the game to the opposition. I think his leadership skills have been pretty good so far and it runs on the rest of the players.”

For Wessels, Kohli is more of the showman, whose aggression often helps him get the better of the opposition, while Smith is more of an artist when his batting and scoring runs. The former Chennai Super Kings coach believes that Root and Williamson have the best technique amongst the top players in the world.

“Look it’s always difficult to compare players because they play under different conditions, in different circumstances and also for different teams. They all have been superb in modern day cricket. But Kohli is more adventurous probably than the other three. Smith is just phenomenal in the way he puts runs together at the crease, Root is very correct (in his approach) as is Williamson,” Wessels added further.

Kohli didn’t enjoy a good start to what would be his toughest tour as a captain yet. The RCB captain was dismissed for low scorers in both the innings but it is his dismissal in the 2nd innings which would have worried the Indian fans. However, Wessels believes that a player like Kohli has enough ability and technique to overcome the testing conditions and tackle the South African bowlers.

Wessels said, “Well the South Africans will definitely target him in that fourth stumps channel outside off stump and get that ball to bounce. They feel they have got a chance there to get him out early in the innings. You know he is a good player and he will find his way out to counter that,” he said.”

Wessels also spoke regarding South Africa’s chances in the 2019 World Cup and how he wishes that the team gets rid of their chokers tag and lifts their maiden World Cup in England.

“I think the high for South African cricket has been to go on top in the Test arena, but not winning a World Cup till date is sad. That’s been a huge disappointment although there have been some good performances in the showpiece event,” he said.

He believes that it is players like Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn who have inspired a generation of youngsters to take up the game.

“Jacques Kallis is at the top of the list. Dale Steyn is another one who will be in the top three cricketers to have played for the country. Those two for me are the ones I would like to single out and they have been absolutely fantastic,” he said.

Wessels concluded the interview by expressing his approval of AB de Villiers decision to take a break from test cricket. He said, “Not really…As a South African, I would have liked AB to play, but he’d reached a point where he needed a break. The 2015 World Cup campaign, where AB was the captain, took its toll. He has a young family also.”


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