New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said Virat Kohli was taking the game to levels not seen before when asked to compare best contemporary batsmen.

Williamson was at his modest best when asked to compare his peers, including Kohli, Australia’s Steve Smith, England’s Joe Root and Pakistan’s Babar Azam.

Williamson was speaking to commentator Harsha Bhogle over a video chat in an interview for Cricbuzz. The 29-year-old dismissed any suggestions of wanting to go one better than his peers, having become one of the popular figures in the game in recent times.

“Virat’s taking the game to new heights,” Williamson said.

“Steve Smith and the rest are batsmen I admire. The only thing you do is try to be the best you can be, warts and all, with all your limitations.

“You always want to get more. Whether you want to get more than this person or that person depends on what you do. You just want your team to be in stronger positions and winning games of cricket.”

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Williamson added: “We all want to hit the ball like Virat and find the gaps like Steve. What stands out about these players is their temperament and hunger for runs is so different but there are lot of similarities in the way they pace an innings.”

The New Zealand cricket team have received widespread praise from fans, commentators and opponents for their non-confrontational style of play.

Williamson explained New Zealand’s team culture.

“Look, there aren’t rules,” he said. “We are a very competitive team, you have to be at this level. How we go about with our cricket and what we do is what is really important to us. There is more to life than just the game. Sometimes, you get caught up with it.”

“It is our passion. We want to be playing really good collectively and we need to take that step back and reflect on our behaviour and see if is on the lines of what we expect of ourselves. Making sure that our behaviour is consistent is quite important to us as a team,” he added.

“[Former captain] Brendon [McCullum] was hugely influential in leading the side at the time and leading us to the right direction.”

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Williamson, in trademark style, played down New Zealand’s stunning home Test record in recent years, having won 18 of their last 23 games. India were also left licking their wounds against Kiwis shortly before all cricket was suspended due to the coronavirus lockdown.

“There is no bigger fortress than India. We don’t talk about it [the home record] that much. At the end of the day, you are playing a new team and have to adapt to them. As I said, it all boils down to how many games of cricket we can win.”

Williamson insisted that he didn’t mind Sunrisers Hyderabad teammate David Warner being reinstated as captain in last year’s Indian Premier League.

Williamson had just played 17 games in his first three seasons of the IPL but took the 2016 champions to the final under Warner’s absence, thereby becoming an important part of the Hyderabad setup.

Watch Kane Williamson’s chat with Harsha Bhogle here: