Free Press Journal

Ricky: Kohli currently best batsman in Smith’s absence


MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 23: Network Ten commentator Ricky Ponting looks on during the Big Bash League match between the Melbourne Renegades and the Brisbane Heat at Etihad Stadium on December 23, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour - CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images)

Melbourne : Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting believes India captain Virat Kohli is currently the best batsman in the world only because Steve Smith is serving a year-long ban for his role in ball tampering 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. Ponting believes Smith’s contribution in Australia’s 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.