Australia’s player of the series in the Ashes Steve Smith became the highest run-scorer in a single Test series in the 21st century, finishing with a mammoth 774 runs at a Bradmanesque average of 110.57 from the four matches he played.
The world number one batsman was in phenomenal form during the Ashes, hitting three hundreds, including one double ton, in the four Tests.
But when former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes was asked to choose between Steve Smith and Virat Kohli, the 50-year-old picked Indian captain Virat Kohli as the best batsman in world cricket right now.
“I enjoy watching Virat Kohli. Steve Smith, with that action and technique, makes the ugliest hundreds I have ever seen but the man just keeps scoring runs.
“Someone who likes to watch cricket would want to say ‘Wow! What an amazing shot’ as opposed to ‘Oh! How on earth can he hit that?’ So Virat Kohli right now,” Rhodes, who was in India as the ambassador for the Covelong festival, told Express during an interaction.
Rhodes, who is regarded as one of the best fielders of all time, picked New Zealand's Martin Guptill and India's Ravindra Jadeja among the best fielders currently. But he regarded Guptill as his favourite.
“Jadeja doesn’t get enough cricket time. Guptill is playing every game. Guptill is great in the slips, great in the covers, great in the boundaries. He is a great all-round fielder, Jadeja has got the X factor. There are really good fielders out there but Guptill for me stands out,” the fielding legend said.
The opening game of the three-match T20I series at Dharamshala on Sunday was abandoned due to rain. South Africa will be keen to get back the winning habit after the flop show in the 2019 World Cup. Kagiso Rabada will continue to lead the pace battery after his amazing performance in the World Cup.
Asked to pick between Rabada and Jasprit Bumrah, the 50-year-old said, “It depends on what you want to do. If you want to knock people down at the start of the game then Rabada, but if you are looking to defend, then Bumrah as he is a specialist.”
Rhodes also revealed that he remained in touch with former South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje even after he was banned from international cricket for life after a match-fixing scandal.
“Hansie was somebody whom I had grown up with from the age of 13 playing against each other in various state-level teams. So Hansie and I were really close. Even after his ban for match-fixing, I spent a lot of time with him,” he added.