Perth, Feb 24: Legendary South African batsman Barry Richards feels Virat Kohli is a few notches above his contemporaries in the Indian team but still has some way to go before one can compare him with the iconic Sachin Tendulkar.
"Virat Kohli undoubtedly is the best batsman in this current Indian team by a distance. He is really talented and is someone, whom you will like to pay to watch his batting. Along with AB de Villiers, he is amongst the top batsmen in world cricket today," Richards, one of the most respected voices in world cricket, told PTI during an interaction.
Sir Donald Bradman was believed to have considered Richards as one of the finest right-handers at par with Jack Hobbs and Len Hutton. When asked how did he rate Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan compared to Kohli, Richards answer resembled the same nonchalance.
"No way (he shrugged). They are not even close to Kohli. He is in a league of his own. You like the way he builds an innings. The hallmark of a good batsman is to control the pace of his innings and Kohli does it with ease. He will definitely get better," said 69-year-old Richards, who scored more than 500 runs in four Test matches against Australia in the only Test series he played before South Africa went into isolation for 21 years.
However, the batting artist of yesteryears feels that Kohli still needs a bit more finesse in his execution before he can be compared with Tendulkar.
"Tendulkar's range of strokes was extra-ordinary, which Kohli still has some way to go," Richards commented before doing a bit of shadow to explain the difference.
"When Tendulkar batted, you could sense that his peripheral vision works. He could play in that entire arc between gully and square-leg, such was his range. If needed, he could meet the ball early with a frontfoot stride even on fastest of pitches. In case of Kohli, I find him as someone, who plays very close to his body. He lets the ball come into him," observed Richards, who had 80 hundreds in 339 first-class matches.