Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) coach Trent Woodhill has likened AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli to cricket’s Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in their skills and approach.
Hailing the fitness and training of the top two ODI batsmen in the world, Australia’s Woodhill, who has worked with both in the Indian Premier League (IPL), said Kohli’s strength is his fitness and the extra sharpness it gives him, while de Villiers is all about training smart.
“[Kohli] is the most impressive sportsman I’ve had the pleasure to work with – in any sport. He’s in the same stratosphere as Roger Federer, Cristiano Ronaldo or Messi,” Woodhill told a group of reporters on the sidelines of the IPL.
“His approach to his own cricketing career and everything involved around it is extremely professional.
“He’s definitely fitter than he’s ever been. What that allows you to do is under pressure, you’re able to replicate technique and replicate movement patterns. So he’s less likely than others to play a lazy shot or not execute the way he’d like because his fitness and his mind is so sharp. And that’s where that brilliance lies.”
As for de Villiers, he added, “he’s mastered the art of replicating what he needs to do in a period of time in training to be able to move on”.
Just like the tennis duo, the two batsmen share a strong respect and friendship, given their time playing together in the IPL, the coach noted.
“It’s tough to pick who is the best of them,” said Woodhill. “AB and Federer share a similar DNA I think, and the same with Nadal and Kohli.
“The point’s never dead for Nadal, and the point’s never dead for Virat. And AB, he finds a way as Federer does, in conditions where others struggle.”
Both Kohli and de Villiers are in action for RCB in the IPL, which got under way from April 7, 2018. Kohli is the number one ranked ODI batsman in the world, with de Villiers at second spot.