Bengaluru, June 1: Virat Kohli and Steve Smith had shared a rather rocky on-field relation dating back to the DRS controversy in the 2017 series played in India. Despite Smith's rich vein of form Australia had lost that series 1-2. Smith had also slammed Kohli in his book 'My Journey' for calling the Aussies habitual offenders.
However, their relation seemed to have thawed during the ICC World Cup 2019 when Kohli urged the fans to stop booing Smith. Smith had to go thorugh ridicule upon his return to international cricket after the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal in early 2018. The former Australian captain offered further clues to a maturing bond on Monday (June 1) when he expressed his admiration for Kohli.
"I admire Virat a lot. He's an amazing player. The way they play the game now, the sheer passion he has for cricket...His body sort of transformed over time. He's so fit, strong and powerful now. Pretty amazing for cricket," said Smith in a Facebook Live session hosted by Sony Sports.
Smith also expressed his admiration for Kohli the white ball player who finishes off chasing in emphatic manner. "Look at his average in winning chases in one-day cricket. It's phenomenal. He's so good under pressure and calm. Just gets the job done and unfortunately for an opposition player. You got to admire someone like that and what he has done for Indian cricket," said Smith.
The Cricket Australia last week had confirmed India will play four Tests in a full-fledged series in which Sydney will host the Day-Night Test. Smith said Australia's experience in playing Pink Ball Tests in the past will stand them in good stead.
However, Smith said India have the wherewithal to stand the test. "We played a few more pink ball games, perhaps, than India which might be a slight advantage," the Aussie star batsman said in a Facebook session, hosted by Sony Sports India.
"India played pretty well in the day-night game they played at Kolkata. It's a different game but they certainly got the batters that can stand up to the conditions when it gets tough with the Pink Ball. And their bowlers, they stand the seam up with quality. They are world class players who are able to adapt to anything, so I see it being a pretty amazing contest," he said.
On the proposed saliva ban in international cricket, Smith said the bowlers will find some ways to maintain the balance between bat and ball.
"For me, even though I'm a batter, I still want to see an even contest between bat and ball. I think that's really important for the game. You don't want to see the ball doing nothing, taking swing bowlers around the world out of play. There needs to be a solution."
"What it is? I've no idea. I'm sure someone will come up with something and we will be able to move forward with our great game and see some quality contests. I don't know the answer right now. It's still obviously early days. Wait and see. I'm sure people having discussion in the background and trying to find the right way forward. Hopefully we can get there soon rather than later.
"I probably see more changes coming in. But if you can't put saliva on the ball and shine it up, I guess it's a disadvantage for bowlers in a way," he signed off.