Kohli is great player, I admire him a lot: Kane Williamson

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Mumbai, May 15 (IANS) New Zealand skipper and Sunrisers Hyderabad star batsman Kane Williamson heaped praise on Indian run-machine Virat Kohli, saying that the Royal Challengers Bangalore captain is a great player whom he admires a lot.

India Test skipper Kohli has been in the form of his life over the past couple of months for his national side as well as his Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise, RCB.

After winning the man of the tournament award in the recent World Twenty20, the Delhi-born batsman has smashed three centuries in the ongoing ninth edition of the cash-rich IPL and is the leading scorer with 677 runs.

After bringing up his maiden T20 ton against Gujarat Lions, he followed it up with a second against Rising Pune Supergiants and on Saturday. The 27-year-old blasted 109 runs off just 55 balls against Gujarat.

“He (Kohli) is a great player. He is a player certainly whom I admire a lot, obviously like a lot of others do. It is his ability in T20 cricket and other formats and how he adapts from one format to the other all round the world is an incredible thing,” Williamson told IANS in an exclusive interview.

“Consistent as he is in T20 cricket, there may be no other player like him at the moment, but, well, there is David Warner who is also able to do that; it is also about keeping the benchmark for other players to strive to,” he added.

The 25-year-old, who led the Kiwis to the semi-final stage in the World T20, is known to be a calm and composed skipper. When asked to comment on Kohli’s aggressive nature on the field, he said, “I think he is comfortable the way he is, and plays the game his way.”

Williamson also lauded IPL teammate and India’s veteran batsman Yuvraj Singh, after the latter returned to the side with some good scores following his ankle injury which he sustained at the World T20.

“Yuvraj has been great. It is always nice to have him in the team and part of the squad. His contribution within the team has been exceptional, also to mention his batting ability. Certainly when he has got the opportunity he has gone out and played to the team’s plan and played very well,” he said.

The Tauranga-born batsman, who has been in great form over the past year for New Zealand in all formats will take over the Test captaincy from compatriot and batting legend Brendon McCullum and will lead his country in all formats of the game. He viewed this as a big challenge ahead of him.

“It is a privilege and an honour to have the opportunity to lead the country in all three formats. The team was lead by Brendon for a couple of years now and now we have to take the team forward. But there are a lot of challenges ahead and also will be exciting,” he said.

“Without him (Brendon) as a leader and as a player is a transition period and as a leader he has had an impression on number of guys. So I will look to do what’s best for the team and take the side forward and ultimately continue the good culture that we have.”

When asked about the future of Test cricket after the advent of T20, the right-handed batsman said, “Above all T20 cricket increases the interest in the game, which has an effect in the Test cricket as well. But as we know Test cricket, the story is increasing day by day. With the day-night Test coming up, it is a new concept. But there is always interest in T20 cricket more.”

The Kiwi also praised IPL teammate Muztafizur Rahman and termed the promising Bangladesh seamer as an exceptional talent.

“He (Muztafizur) is an exceptional talent, so young as well, coming in and being so clear about what he wants to bowl at the death and use of change ups, which all the batsmen are struggling with. I know as we have faced him at the nets.”

“His ability to bowl the yorker, he is special, so it is fortunate to have him in our side. And I have no doubt that he will do better things throughout his career and international cricket as well,” Williamson concluded.

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