I have learnt lot from Indian captain Virat Kohli, copied AB de Villiers and Kane Williamson: Steve Smith
Virat Kohli has been setting the stage alight courtesy some superlative performances with the bat in South Africa. At times, the Indian skipper has single-handedly decimated the much-vaunted South African bowling attack. Kohli might be at the top of his game but there are a few other batsmen that have been constantly compared to him
This is the era of fab four – Steve Smith, Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson and Joe Root. Among the cricket’s current generation, the foursome is regarded as the gold standard when it comes to batting.
They have their strengths and weaknesses and how they have tackled through difficult times and conditions to improve themselves day-by-day has been a fascinating story.Especially when it comes to Australia Test and ODI captain Steve Smith who began his international career as a spinning allrounder but grew to become one of the fearsome Test batsmen of the current era. And Smith, whose feat over the past years have drawn comparison to Sir Don Bradman, has no hesitation in admitting that he tries to imbibe the techniques of the best from his trade. India captain Kohli, New Zealand skipper Williamson and South Africa’s Mr 360 De Villiers have been his top sources from where he has adopted certain techniques and modified them to improve his own game.
In a freewheeling chat with cricket.com.au, Smith, who in 61 Tests has scored 6057 runs at an average of 63.76, revealed how he sometimes tries to bat like others. “I look at some of the best players around the world and sometimes I do try and bat like them,” Smith was quoted as saying. “I just try and learn, and these guys are the best players in the world for a reason.”
While Kohli and Smith have not had the best of relationships on the field or even off it, that has not stopped the Australian skipper from observing Kohli closely and picking up on how he tackles spin.
“Little bit of Virat and the way he plays spin, his hands and the way he hits the ball through the off-side. Probably learnt a little bit out of that. I just try and learn. These guys are best players in the world for a reason. You try and get whatever you can out of them,” said Smith.
His equation with Kohli on-field isn’t something that will fit in the category of “best buds” but that hasn’t stopped the 28-year-old from observing his counterpart closely in how he tackles spin. And it has paid rich dividends too. During Australia’s tour of India last year in February-March, Smith was the top-scorer with 499 runs at 71.29 with three centuries.
In places like India, for instance, I open my hands up a little bit,” Smith said.
“I don’t feel that I can get nicked off (caught behind the wicket) quite as easily in India as opposed to somewhere like Australia or South Africa.”
Not just Kohli, Smith revealed that he has picked up on a few tricks from South African star AB de Villiers and Williamson.
“I’ve copied a bit of what AB de Villiers does. The way I go back and across to open myself up and set myself for the shots. More so when the ball is reversing.”
“A few years ago I tried to bat like Kane Williamson and play the ball really late,” said the Australian captain]]>