Former Australian and world cup winning skipper Ricky Ponting believes Indian captain Virat Kohli is currently the best batsman in the world just because Steve Smith is serving a year-long ban for a ball-tampering row at a Cape Town Test.
Asked who is the number one batsman in the world, Ponting said: “Right now, he (Kohli) is because Steve Smith is not there.
“(But) if Steve Smith was playing now, I’d have him as the number one player in the world,” he said at Channel Seven’s cricket season launch.
The former Aussie skipper believes Smith’s contribution to Australian cricket and his involvement in many victories, especially at the Ashes, makes him a better batsman than Kohli.
“That’s how high in regard I hold Steve Smith - what he’s done the last three or four years with his game and (he’s been) able to lead an Australian team to so many wins the way he has (batted),” Ponting said.
“The Ashes summer last year was just some of the best and purest batting as you’re ever going to see. To do it on the big stage in an Ashes series, and to do it on the first day of an Ashes series when it counts the most, says a lot about him.”
Smith was banned for a year by Cricket Australia for his role in the ball tampering row that rocked the third Test against South Africa at Cape Town. He has 23 Test centuries at an average of 61.37 under his belt.
Kohli, on the other hand, has hit 21 tons at an average of 53.40.