There’s very little doubt that Steve Smith and Virat Kohli are two of the best batsmen in world cricket currently. Smith made a staggering comeback to the Australian team in the recently concluded Ashes series. While most experts are divided and aren’t too sure who is the better amongst the two, many are backing Steve Smith in Tests.
Former England off-spinner Monty Panesar is also of the opinion that Smith is the better of the two batsmen. Smith has twenty-six centuries to Kohli’s twenty-five centuries. As an overall package, he is a tad behind Kohli but only when it comes to crowning the best in the longest form of the game, the Indian skipper comes second best.
But overall Virat Kohli would rank higher
“Steve Smith is a better Test batsman than Virat Kohli,” Panesar told in an interview. “But if you take an overall package, especially limited-overs, Virat stands out. He is overall a world class batsman. Virat is the best batsman in the world. Smith is the best Test batsman in the world,” said Panesar.
Monty Panesar who played fifty Tests for England claiming 167 wickets praised India’s premier batsman even more by saying that with his consistency and ability he surely will beat Sachin Tendulkar’s record of hundred international centuries.
The left-arm spinner also had some ravishing words of praise to share about India’s speed sensation Jasprit Bumrah. Bumrah has changed the landscape of Indian fast bowling according to Panesar. He felt that the pacer would go on to achieve more laurels for the country and said that his stint under Sachin Tendulkar with the Mumbai Indians led to his growth.
“I am sure Sachin has played a crucial role in Bumrah’s development. He has a huge influence on him. What length to bowl, how to swing, how to judge a batsman- all these things he has learnt so quickly. How you think about the game and how you tactically take the right decisions- all these things Bumrah has learnt so fast under the able guidance of Sachin,” Panesar stated.
Monty Panesar does make some valid observations. Steve Smith is probably the best in Test cricket now, the way in which he made a stunning, almost unbelievable comeback to the team post a one-year ban speaks volumes about his physical and mental strength. Overall, definitely India’s crown Virat Kohli would rank ahead of Smith and it won’t be too surprising to see him overtake Sachin Tendulkar’s coveted record of 100 international centuries.
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