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Batting star friends Kohli and De Villiers face off
January 01, 2018
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Cape Town: Virat Kohli’ rivalry with fellow batting star AB de Villiers is likely to provide a compelling side-show in the three-Test series between South Africa and India starting at Newlands on Friday.

“It’s not like only two guys are playing in this series,” said Kohli, playing things down when asked about De Villiers, his Royal Challengers Bangalore teammate in the Indian Premier League.

“AB is a great friend of mine, I respect the way he plays the game and I’ve always respected him as a person as well,” Kohli said at India’s arrival press conference.

“But when you’re playing against each other it’s just about wanting to get AB out and I’m sure the opposition would want the same when I play or (Ajinkya) Rahane plays or (Cheteshwar) Pujara plays as well.”

While Rahane and Pujara may be high-quality players - in the same way that Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla are for South Africa - no player on either side can match the aura created by Kohli and De Villiers, whose thrilling stroke play can change the course of a match. Kohli is India’s most glamorous and best-performing batsman since Sachin Tendulkar while De Villiers has the rare distinction for a foreigner of having star appeal in India.

When South Africa toured India two seasons ago, crowds put aside their passionate support for the home side and chanted “ABD, ABD” whenever De Villiers walked out to bat.


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