On the eve of the first Test against India which starts in Wellington on Friday, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson spoke about the camaraderie he shares with his counterpart Virat Kohli.
Williamson and Kohli, who have contrasting styles on the cricket field, have often spoken about the respect they have for each other’s games and personalities.
“If we had to share the No 1 spot (Test ranking), it would be with New Zealand,” skipper Kohli said during a dinner hosted by the Indian High Commissioner in Wellington on Wednesday.
“Every team wants to beat us but I can tell you that there would be no spite when it comes to New Zealand and that’s why I could sit with Kane Williamson mid-game and have a conversation on life and not cricket,” said Kohli.
Williamson couldn’t agree more about the conversation beyond the boundary during a recent T20 International between India and New Zealand in which both players sat out.
“It was really interesting the other day to sit down and have a quiet chat on the outfield and share a lot of thoughts that we had and a lot of similar views on the game,” the New Zealand skipper said.
While their approach might be different, Kohli’s outlook towards the game earns nothing but respect from Williamson.
“We have slightly different approaches, which is refreshing. It is very inspiring to see the way he leads his team, his tenacious and competitive attitude and his outlook towards the game,” Williamson said.
Kohli and Williamson first played against each other in an Under-19 bilateral series and then in the 2008 U-19 World Cup semi-final, in which the former emerged triumphant. Eleven years later, both were part of another semi-final, this time at the 2019 ICC World Cup, and it was Williamson’s turn to have the last laugh.
“We go quite a long way back really, to our Under-19s. We played against each other in different competitions as well, the international arena and the IPL. I have always admired Virat in a lot of ways for setting benchmarks in the international game,” Williamson said.
(With inputs from PTI)