India skipper Virat Kohli calls Kane Williamson special and the New Zealand skipper says his Indian counterpart is a superstar. In the modern era of cut throat competition where every inch counts, the mutual admiration that Kohli and Williamson share is indeed a lesson for youngsters looking to play the gentlemanâ€™s game.
Speaking on the eve of the first semi-final of the 2019 World Cup, Kohli was the first one to point out how he always saw talent in Williamson. In fact, even as scribes asked him about playing against Williamson in the U19 World Cup in 2008, the India skipper went back to the 2007 U19 Test match he played against New Zealand to recollect his first memory of the Kiwi skipper.
"It's not even 2008, I remember in 2007, we went to New Zealand and we were playing an U19 Test match and he played a shot off one of our fast bowlers, who was quick, off the back foot and I remember standing in slips and telling guys standing with me, "I have never seen anyone play a shot like that" and he was special, along with a couple more guys, who didn't make it surprisingly.
"But he was always the stand-out player and you could see when we played New Zealand in New Zealand on that U19 tour and the World Cup again, he was quite special for them. So we always knew he has the special ability to go all the way and now he's controlling the tempo of the game for New Zealand. Every game that he plays, he's contributing so well. He is a lovely guy. We get along very well," he pointed out.
Williamson too, had some really good things to say when asked about the Indian skipper who has evolved over the years and is an absolute run-machine at present.
"He was a formidable player, growing up -- that seems odd to say because we were at the same age playing against each other on a number of occasions and then to go into international cricket at a youngish age, then IPL and these different sorts of things.
"So it's obviously been a pleasure watching Virat play and evolve into the superstar that he is," he smiled.
As the two captains gear up for one of their biggest challenges in their leadership careers, the act of appreciating genuine talent definitely is one that the future stars could look to imbibe.
(Baidurjo Bhose can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)