New Delhi: Although South Africa were knocked out of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 by India, their skipper AB de Villers has labeled his Indian counterpart Virat Kohli as the 'most outstanding cricketer in the world'.
Kohli claimed the top-spot in the ICC ODI batting rankings this week after he scored three scores of fifty plus in four matches in the ongoing tournament. He also became the fastest batsman in terms of innings to reach 8000 runs in the 50-over format of the game.
The 28-year-old, who struck an unbeaten 76 in India's eight-wicket win over South Africa, was described as "being a consummate surgeon at the crease", by the Proteas skipper.
"He has been blessed with wonderful natural talent but, as ever among high achievers, his talent is underpinned by a willingness to work hard," wrote De Villiers in his column for the BBC on Saturday.
De Villiers, who is currently struggling with a poor run of form despite being at the helm of the number one ODI team, said that Kohli is able to cope with the extreme pressure that comes with being captain of the Indian cricket team.
"Beyond the golden talent and the iron determination, Virat has learned how to cope with the pressures of his exalted position," said De Villiers, who was dismissed for his first golden duck in ODI cricket in a loss to Pakistan last week.
"If you drive into almost any city in India, you will see his face appear on every other billboard. Being the most marketable and possibly the most popular personality in a nation of 1.3bn people brings its own pressures: he simply cannot move without being begged for a 'selfie' and his every move, word and even gesture is relentlessly reported in print, electronic and social media,'' Kohli's Royal Challengers Bangalore teammate wrote.
De Villiers also wrote that Kohli has mellowed down the years and the anger that sometimes surfaced has been replaced by a more jocular personality.
"Intense and serious in matches and at practice, he retains the invaluable ability to switch off from the game, relaxing, laughing and joking at every opportunity. He enjoys calling people by playful nicknames and he can find humour in almost every situation,''' wrote the 33-year-old De Villiers.