Kohli and Smith have for long been jostling for the top spot in the Test batsmen’s rankings. Currently Smith occupies the top spot in the rankings, with Kohli coming in second. But it was Kohli who toppled Smith for the No.1 slot in 2018, and occupied it for the most part till late 2019.
The two have been the leading Test batsmen of the last decade, but Warner pointed out what made them different. “When it comes to cricket, they both have got the mental strength, the mental capacity to score runs,” Warner told reputed commentator Harsha Bhogle in Cricbuzz in Conversation. “They both love spending time in the middle. Virat’s passion and drive to score runs is different to what Steve’s would be.
“Steve is going out there for a hit in the middle, that’s how he sees things. He’s hitting them out in the middle, he’s having fun, he’s enjoying himself, just does not want to get out.
“Virat, obviously, doesn’t want to get out, but he knows if he spends a certain amount of time out there, he’s going to score plenty of runs at a rapid rate. He’s going to get on top of you. That allows the guys coming in, especially in the Indian team you’ve got a lot of players who can be flamboyant as well.
Steve Smith’s ban on captaincy is over. Should Australia now:
Make Smith captain across formats?
Stick with Tim Paine and Aaron Finch? pic.twitter.com/jSfcxqF74M
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) March 29, 2020
“They stabilise, they boost morale – if they score runs, everyone else’s morale is up. If they are out cheaply, you almost sense that on the field that everyone is … [down on morale and thinking] now we all have to step up. It’s a very bizarre situation.”
The contest between Smith and Kohli will be one to look out for if India’s scheduled tour of Australia at the end of this year does take place. When India last went Down Under, in 2018/19, Smith was serving a ball-tampering ban along with Warner, allowing India to come away with their first ever series win in Australia.