Cape Town - There is no doubt that one of the major attractions ahead of the Test series between South Africa and India is the battle between AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli.
With De Villiers only just back on the Test arena following a break that lasted almost two years, the series has some added spice with two of the greatest batsmen of this generation locking horns.
There are, of course, many other factors that will decide the series but both De Villiers and Kohli are good enough to single-handedly win matches for their team.
De Villiers averages 50.47 after 107 Tests while Kohli averages 53.75 from 63 - both seriously impressive records.
Yet, when asked about his battle with De Villiers, Kohli was reluctant to get too carried away.
"I don’t know … it’s not like only two guys are playing in
the series," he said at a press conference at Western Province Cricket Club on Saturday.
"AB is a great friend of mine. I respect the way he plays the game
and I’ve always respected him as a person as well, but when you play against
each other it is not like that.
"It’s just about wanting to
get AB out and I’m sure the opposition would want the same when I play or
Rahane plays or Pujara plays.
"I don’t think there is any difference in terms of
mindset … everyone wants to be the standout player in the series and make
contributions towards the team winning. Unless you have that as a group, you
don’t have many chances of winning."
India have never won a Test series in South Africa, having drawn one and lost five since 1992, but Kohli says there is a feeling in this group that something special could be around the corner.
"I feel that
with the kind of bowling attack we have now and the balance we have in the
side, we definitely feel that we can win here," he said.
"If we didn’t have that mindset
then there would be no point getting onto that flight.
"We have come here wanting
to express ourselves, believing in our abilities and knowing that we have the
right balance to win Test matches in any conditions that we face. For us it’s
about winning sessions and executing our skills well."
The first of three Tests gets underway in Cape Town on January 5.