Kohli: I actually empathise with De Villiers

“He’s by far the most committed cricketer I’ve ever seen around”

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

India captain Virat Kohli has admitted that he empathises with his South African counterpart AB de Villiers, who has struggled to have an impact in the ongoing Champions Trophy.

In the Proteas’ opening game against Sri Lanka, De Villiers could only muster four runs. He followed that up with the first golden duck of his ODI career against Pakistan on Wednesday.

“I actually empathise with him,” Kohli, who played alongside De Villiers at the Indian Premier League (IPL), said. “I go through this a lot as well – when you have set standards for yourself and then people get shocked.”

South Africa and India will go into their clash on Sunday both needing to win in order to advance to the semi-finals.

Despite what’s at stake, Kohli offered his support to De Villiers and even believes that the 33-year-old will rise to the occasion when they go head to head at The Oval.

“He’s by far the most committed cricketer I’ve ever seen around, and the reason for that is he is trying to do something extra for his team,” Kohli said. “I know AB quite well, so I know the reason behind his mindset of playing like that.”

Should De Villiers shake off the shackles and fire on Sunday, Kohli admitted that it will be nearly impossible to stop the onslaught.

“He can come out and when he’s in the right frame of mind and it’s his day and he’s in the mood, then it doesn’t matter what he has done in the past games or how many runs he has scored or not scored,” Kohli added. “If he decides to play the way only he can, you know you have to find a way to get him out pretty quickly.”

Interestingly, De Villiers shared a similar view about Kohli when asked about the Indian skipper.

“He’s a top-class player. He’s difficult to stop when he gets going,” the Pretoria native said. “So our plans will be around trying to unsettle him early on in his innings, like any other world-class batter.

“If you don’t get them out early, they can do some damage. He just does it really well when he gets going. He can really hurt you, hurt your bowling attack and take the game away from you.

“I love the way that he [Kohli] plays cricket. He’s very competitive. He always likes to come out on top. That’s the kind of approach that I also have with my cricket. I like to compete and try and contribute in order for the team to win.”

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