Kohli lauds ‘the best of this generation’

KohliVirat Kohli heaps praise on his Royal Challengers Bangalore teammate after another IPL masterclass
After producing yet another breathtaking innings, AB de Villiers has been labelled the “best batsman of this generation” by teammate and partner in crime Virat Kohli. De Villiers plundered 82 from 42 balls for Indian Premier League franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore in Tuesday’s emphatic 45-run win over David Warner’s Sunrisers Hyderabad.

De Villiers and Kohli, who scored 75 from 51 balls, put on 157 runs for the second wicket, adding to their record 215-run unbeaten stand against Mumbai last year. “It’s always wonderful,” Kohli told Sony when asked what it was like sharing another huge partnership with his South Africa teammate. “Last year we had a brilliant partnership as well in Mumbai. “He took a bit of pressure off me there. I wanted to get off the blocks (fast), but he came in and started hitting the ball like only he can, and showed why he is the best batsman of this generation.”

Few can argue with Kohli’s assessment on de Villiers. The Proteas powerhouse owns the fastest ODI century; a 31-ball demolition of the West Indies in 2015. He’s the fastest batsman to score 8,000 ODI runs, reaching the landmark in 182 innings. And since the turn of the millennium, de Villiers is the highest run-scorer in all international cricket for those still playing at the highest level. In 377 matches spanning Tests, ODIs and T20 internationals, de Villiers has scored 18,063 runs and 45 centuries in his 12-year career.

Hard-hitting West Indian Chris Gayle is next among active players with 17,896 runs, while evergreen Sri Lankan Tillakaratne Dilshan is third with 17,242. Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara tops the list of players present and past, amassing 28,016 runs and 63 centuries in 594 matches, ahead of long-time teammate Mahela Jayawardena (24,182) and Australian champion Ricky Ponting (22,183). While those rankings are determined on aggregate, when based on average, Kohli is unmatched against current players with 5,000 or more international runs. In 255 matches, the India Test captain has scored 11,847 runs at 50.19, edging out South Africa’s Hashim Amla (49.55), Englishman Joe Root (48.68) and Australia skipper Steve Smith (46.80). In fact, South Africa’s Jacques Kallis (51.9) is the only other batsman with an average above 50. (Courtesy Cricket.com.au)