Having played for Royal Challengers Bangalore for multiple seasons, it is no surprise that AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli have a great amount of mutual respect. And now, in a BBC column, the Proteas skipper has heaped praise on his RCB teammate for guiding his team to the final of the Champions Trophy.
De Villiers praises Kohli not only for his cricketing skills but also for the energy and intensity that he brings to the game. Highlighting Kohli's talent of sneaking ones and twos, the ace batsman calls the Indian skipper a "consummate surgeon at the crease", who knows when to up the ante and snatch the game away from the opponents.
Kohli, who has scored three unbeaten half centuries in four games, has found his best form, points out de Villiers before adding that Pakistan would look to take Kohli's wicket early on in the final on Sunday.
In the column, the South African also writes about how Kohli sweats it out in nets until he perfects a stroke.
Knowing the amount of expectation that India has on Kohli, De Villiers praises him for having handled the pressure well. Even when he fails to live up to the expectations, de Villiers adds that Kohli practices harder and bounces back even more strongly.
As a young 20-year-old, Kohli was known for being an excessively aggressive player who often failed to control his emotions. However, De Villiers noted that with the passage of time, he has "evolved into the very model of a calm, clinical and confident professional cricketer, seemingly in control of every situation."
But Kohli is not that kind of a person off the field, added De Villiers. Contrary to his serious demeanour on the field, the RCB skipper likes to give playful nicknames to teammates and joke over "almost every situation", adds the Proteas skipper.
"When we are spending hour after hour at another photoshoot, waiting for the photographer to be ready, then being told how and where to pose, then waiting some more, then being told we have to start the process all over again. While some of his teammates are getting frustrated and struggling to be patient and composed, Virat will find something funny and deftly defuse the situation." De Villiers writes.
It comes as no surprise that Kohli wants to continue the game as long as he can. De Villiers narrates a story to highlight Kohli's passion for the game.
During a team breakfast, he asked the RCB skipper how long he wants to play for India. De Villiers says that on hearing the question, an animated Kohli gave a broad smile and said, "I'm going to play forever,"I'm going to play forever."