Former England captain Kevin Pietersen feels Australia ace Steve Smith’s accomplishments stand pale in comparison to Indian skipper Virat Kohli. The 39-year-old put Kohli over batting legend Sachin Tendulkar too because of his staggering numbers while batting second in limited-overs cricket.

When asked to compare Kohli and Smith, Pietersen said: “Kohli, hands down [is the best]. Freakshow! Pietersen told former Zimbabwe cricketer Pommie Mbangwa during a chat on Instagram.

“His record chasing, winning games for India with the amount of pressure he consistently lives under....Smith doesn’t even come close.”

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Mbangwa asked Pietersen to choose between Kohli and Tendulkar. “Again, Virat [is better] because of his chasing numbers. His chasing numbers are frightening. He averages 80 in chases and all his one-day hundreds come when chasing.

“He consistently wins games of cricket for India. He just keeps on turning the numbers, chasing, chasing, chasing.”

The South Africa-born batsman values winning games over individual performances. Kohli averages a jaw-dropping 96.21 in the games India have won batting second with him featuring in the side. Kohli has smashed twenty six of his 43 ODI while batting second.

“That’s what drives me; my Man of the Match performances. It was not the way that I played or how I played. How many Man of the Match performances and how many games you win for England [is what matters]. And he [Kohli] does that for India. Unreal numbers,” added Pietersen.

Kohli has scored 70 international hundreds and averages more than 50 in all three formats. Smith, on the other hand, averages higher than Kohli in Tests with 7,227 runs in 73 games at 62.74. Kohli has scored 7,240 runs in 86 Tests at 53.62. The Indian averages 59.33 and 50.80 in ODIs and T20s, while Smith averages 42.46 and 29.60 respectively in the two formats.

Also read: Wasim Akram on how Tendulkar and Kohli react to sledging