AB de Villiers vs Virat Kohli
The hallmark of a great batsman comes from his ability to read the situation and adjust his game accordingly.
Without taking away any credit from players like Cheteshwar Pujara or Liam Livingstone, neither can, unfortunately, be classified as legendary batsmen.
Pujara, on his day, can stand guard even when all hell breaks loose on him. Livingstone can demolish any side inside 10 overs, courtesy of his willow-wielding powers.
However, if we switch their roles, not much will be on offer from either batsman.
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ab de villiers vs virat kohli who is best
Only a select few have graced the game and made it better with their ability to bat like a champion chameleon.
Former Indian captain Virat Kohli is perhaps the first name that comes to our mind when we think of such victors.
The Delhi batsman has the ability to score a 52-ball century against a world-class Australian bowling attack.
On the other hand, he also has the adaptability to eke out a 157-ball half-century against the Proteas in their own backyard, when the situation demands it.
You simply cannot use conditions or situations against him, no matter what.
Kohli’s development over the last decade has been a worthwhile journey.
The flamboyant young dasher matured over the years to become the talisman of the Indian batting line-up.
He learned newer and better stroke-making while also understanding when to play them.
Several cricketers influenced him, advising him on and off the pitch on how to evolve and stay ahead of the curve.
While the rest coached Kohli’s development, one man showed him the process first-hand— AB de Villiers.
South Africa’s champion batsman was a true embodiment of the change that embraced the game in the 21st century.
Cricket became faster, fitter, and more dynamic—adjectives that are synonymous with the Proteas batsman.
In a career that spanned 14 years, de Villiers scored 20014 runs, averaging above 50 in Tests and ODIs and maintaining a strike rate north of 100 in T20Is and One Day Internationals.
This is the same champion who plastered West Indies bowlers for a 44-ball 149 and shielded his team against India with a 297-ball inning culminating in 43 runs.
Performance in International cricket
Being able to adjust their game was not the only weapon in their arsenal.
The dynamic duo of virat kohli and ab de villiers also loved flourishing on consistency.
Match after match, series after series, these two players made a habit of taking away the laurels courtesy of their batting performances.
The Proteas batsman averaged a scary 71 in ODIs between 2009-2015, after which it dropped to a 50 before he retired in 2018.
De Villiers hit 18 centuries and 25 half-tons in 121 Test innings between 2008-2015.
He had a strike rate of 150 odd in the last five years of his T20 career, indicating the Proteas star went out on a high.
Kohli hit 27 centuries and 20 half-tons in 132 test innings between 2012-2019, crossing the 1000-runs-in-a-year milestone on three occasions.
He added 10,127 runs in ODI cricket in 202 innings between 2011-2019.
ab de villiers ipl vs virat kohli ipl performance
Much like the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo pushing Lionel Messi and vice-versa, Kohli and de Villiers also fed off each other’s success.
While football’s iconic duo never played for the same team, Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League made that dream come true for cricket fans.
RCB bagged de Villiers in 2011 for ₹5 crores.
This was back when the Proteas star had reached the top of his game and looked to the sky as his limit.
Young Kohli had started to show glimpses of his greatness, and the proximity to de Villiers further fuelled his ambitions.
The Indian batter tried to match his South African counterpart shot for shot, and the devastating result of this fierce rivalry was inflicted upon the bowlers, who might as well have placed the fielders as spectators in the stands.
While to the world it appeared that two men were on a rampage for fun, there were some minuscule differences in their game.
Both batsmen were effectively the best in their ranks but served slightly different roles for their national teams.
Kohli, playing for a technically superior Team India, was asked to push the limits further and crank up the quality of demolition.
He was set the task of anchoring an innings but without the burden of saving the day more often than not.
It invited a new pressure in the form of doing one better every time he stepped out to bat.
On the other hand, as de Villiers broke his barriers, his runs came as a rescue act for a falling South Africa team.
His innings were crafted to anchor the batting line-up while staying not out till the end to ensure a respectable score was put up on the sheet.
ab de villiers vs virat kohli stats
Going by pure numbers, Kohli edges his South African counterpart in most departments.
AB de Villiers beat the Indian batsman in a few departments with the bat and was, catch-for-catch, a better fielder than Kohli.
However, instead of looking to dissect their rivalry, what should be noted is how the rise of this competitiveness made them better cricketers.
Their discipline to not only maintain their inhumane levels of excellence but also to find the hunger to do better is the true testament of what a good rivalry can do.
It is not everyone’s cup of tea to be endeared as a personal inspiration and a modern-day legend by King Kohli.
That is, however, exactly, what Kohli put into words while addressing de Villiers’ retirement.
Virat had tweeted:
“To the best player of our times and the most inspirational person I've met, you can be very proud of what you've done and what you've given to RCB, my brother. Our bond is beyond the game and will always be.”
AB, a man of few words, had in return praised King Kohli when Virat announced his decision to step down as India’s Test captain.
Put in simple words, AB praised Kohli for “raising the bar”.
The debate of the matter will rage on as to who was the better batsman.
Given the high volumes of numbers each player has registered in their record, the argument is likely to be a big one as well.
But beyond the tainted glasses of individual fandom, cricket lovers will raise their bats to salute the greatness they witnessed first-hand from the fearsome duo of AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli.
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