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Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in same league, but David Warner too is special

India Today logo India Today 07-09-2016

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The world has always remained a spectacle to some wonderful batting rivalries in the history. While in the 1980's, we had Sunil Gavskar, Allan Border and Vivian Richards, the 1990's and the turn of the century saw people drawing comparisons between Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting. As these legends move on, three other wonderfully gifted and talismanic batsman graced the gentleman's game in the form of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and David Warner. These three not only have the flair and swashbuckling abilities on the field but they are characters off it as well.

Mr. 360 DEGREE

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The debate between who is the best is really hard and definitely depends on perceptions but the fact that De Villiers is well loved around the world for his charismatic abilities with the bat and can be destructive on his day is what tilts the scale in his favour, some people argue. The South African middle-order batsman made his Test debut back in 2004 against England and played his first ODI in the following one-day international series in 2005. De Villiers was someone who was a decent batsman to begin with, but he slowly became the mainstay of the South African battling line-up.

But, over the last couple of years or so, he has shown the world what he is capable. Very much capable of playing shots at every corner of the ground, the man from Warmbad has become the most devastating batsman of his times. De Villiers became the fastest batsman to century, off just 31 balls against West Indies in January last year. He also scored the fastest 150 as he just took 62 balls to reach that feat against the same opponents in the World Cup last year. Earlier this year, he along with Kohli, had almost taken Royal Challengers Bangalore to their first IPL title this season as they scored 1,660 runs together with the South African scoring 687 of them.

RUN MACHINE

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Kohli on the other hand is more technically gifted and depends on proper cricketing shots unlike the 360 degree South African. The RCB captain has been in brilliant form over the last few years and he showed how destructive and effective he could be under pressure as well when he smashed a record 973 runs earlier this year in the IPL with four centuries among them. Kohli also scored a double-century in his first Test as the full-time Indian captain outside the sub-continent, in the Caribbean tour last month. Kohli is someone who lays the foundation of the Indian batting line-up and is leading the Indian team with a much needed determination and focus and most importantly, he is not letting his captaincy affect his batting.

The Indian might not play shots all around the park but his ability to perform under pressure and completely make a mockery of the opponents especially when chasing targets in limited-overs cricket has to be appreciated. The ability to take on bowlers and not be afraid of the situation and huge totals on the board is what makes Kohli special and stand out from the other batsmen of his era and this is what perhaps gives Kohli the slightest of edge ahead of his RCB teammate, for some people.

DESTROYER

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However, one person who is perhaps as good as the two above but has constantly remained under the shadows of them is David Warner. Warner burst onto the scene in 2009 as one of the most destructive openers in the game. He made his ODI debut in 2009 and played his first Test in 2011. He has always been a destructive batsman at the top of the order and is a bowlers nightmare. He is quick, sees the ball and hits it long and hard. His ability with the bat has never been questioned but the reason he lags behind these two greats is because of his inconsistency. The New South Wales opener can take away the game from a team in a flash right at the beginning of the match with this aggressive stroke play and hurt his opponents right from the word go unlike Kohli and De Villiers who take their time to settle in before the onslaught.

Warner found form earlier this year and showed his leadership skills as well when he led the Sunrisers Hyederbad to their first IPL title. He scored 848 runs in 17 games and carried the Hyderabad batting on his shoulders throughout the tournament. Warner also showed that he can adapt to the situation and take responsibility when the team needs him as he scored 106 off 126 balls on Sunday night to guide Australia home in a tricky run chase against Sri Lanka at Pallekele. At the age of 29, he still has time and enough prowess to establish himself right beside the top two batsman in international cricket right now.

The rivalry between these three will continue as all of them have a lot of cricket left in them. While it's hard to decide who is actually the best among the three, the competition among the top-three batsmen in the world certainly makes them go the extra mile and brings out the best in them and not to mention, it also provides the spectators some wonderful and exciting cricket in the process.

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