Who is the better batsman between Virat Kohli and Steve Smith? Former India opener Gautam Gambhir delivers the verdict ahead of the India-Australia ODI series
Mumbai: With India and Australia set to play in three ODIs starting from tomorrow (January 14) in Mumbai, the debate over Virat Kohli versus Steve Smith is back.
India captain Kohli has been at his best across the three formats. Smith has excelled at the Test level but lags behind Kohli when it comes to ODIs and T20Is, in comparison with the Indian right-hander.
Ahead of the India-Australia ODI rubber, former India batsman Gautam Gambhir declared that Kohli is “far far better” batsman than Smith in white ball cricket.
“Virat Kohli is far far better than Steve Smith in white-ball cricket. There's no comparison. I would not compare Kohli to Smith in white-ball cricket. I would actually want to see what spot Smith bats on," Gambhir told Star Sports.
Also read: Virat Kohli accepts Australian challenge
"Are they're going to push him at no 4 or would have him bat at 3 and send Labuschagne at no 4," he added.
So far, the 31-year-old Kohli has played 242 ODIs and has scored 11,609 runs at an average of 59.84 with 43 hundreds. In 118 ODIs, Smith has 3,810 runs at an average of 41.41 with eight tons. These numbers suggest that Gambhir has been spot on with his verdict. Kohli is also the number one batsman in ICC ODI rankings while Smith is ranked 27th in the world. In Tests, Kohli is number one while Smith is number two.
Talking about India’s bowling in the series, Gambhir backed Mohammed Shami to deliver the goods on batting friendly pitches.
“I've always believed that when you're playing on placid wickets and smaller grounds like the Wankhede or Bangalore, your bowlers need to step up. The kind of form Mohammed Shami is in, it's a big plus for India that he has done really well in white-ball cricket. Jasprit Bumrah is coming back from injury but he's a quality bowler,” Gambhir, who is now a BJP MP in the Lok Sabha, said.
Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav.
Aaron Finch (captain), Alex Carey (vice-captain, wicketkeeper), Pat Cummins (vice-captain), Ashton Agar, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
ODI series schedule
(All matches start at 1.30 pm IST)
January 14 (Tuesday): 1st ODI, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
January 17 (Friday): 2nd ODI, Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot
January 19 (Sunday): 3rd ODI, M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
Last Updated 4:04 PM IST