Former South Africa batter Ab de Villiers revealed that his first impression of Virat Kohli was of a “cocky youngster”. De Villiers was a major part of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) since 2011, under Kohli’s captaincy. “We ran into each other few times before we properly met. I knew about him, he knew about me. I said it a few times that I thought he was a bit cocky when he was a youngster, so that was my initial impression,” said de Villiers on an RCB podcast.
“Even though I could see that he has got respect and the basics are in place, I felt like he has got a bit of swagger going in. So I didn’t hold it against him because you need it at that point of age. We had a really short discussion. I didn’t give him any compliments or anything like that, but I remember clearly at Wanderers, when I got picked up by RCB…it was a nice discussion of looking forward to play together.
“Once I got to Bangalore…the connection just kicked off straight away. Our proper friendship started when I started playing for RCB in 2011. That’s probably when we started becoming good friends. I am a kind of a guy where I don’t really keep in touch but for some reason with Virat it just happens, so we stay in touch. It’s easy as he is on telly (television) the whole time when I am at home,” he added.
The former Proteas batter further said that he sees Virat as a South African cricketer as they both share many common basics. “We both have a lot of basics in common. The way we play the game is quite similar. He is a fighter and I sort of relate to the way he plays the game…,” said De Villiers. Last November, the South African had announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. At 37 years of age, the icon ended his career with 9,424 T20 runs at a strike rate of 150.13 in 320 innings. He was not out 67 times, with four centuries, 69 fifties and a highest score of 133 not out. He also took 230 catches and registered 18 stumpings as a part-time wicketkeeper.