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From Kuala Lumpur to Manchester, Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson have gone from boys to world-beaters

EXPERT COLUMNIST
Feature
605   //    08 Jul 2019, 21:16 IST

Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson
Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson

Feb 27, 2008; Kuala Lumpur

2008 U-19 World Cup Semifinal; India U-19 vs New Zealand U19

India captain: Virat Kohli | New Zealand captain: Kane Williamson

11 years later…

July 9, 2019; Manchester

2019 World Cup semifinal; India vs New Zealand 

India captain: Virat Kohli | New Zealand captain: Kane Williamson

It’s the transformation story of two boys becoming world-beaters on the cricket field over the last decade and come Tuesday, these two men -- Kohli and Williamson -- will leave no stone unturned on the battle pitch. 

They both lead their sides from the front, they bat at No 3 and they are the best in the business. Maybe, the only thing that could possibly not happen in this match is Kohli dismissing Williamson in this semifinal. 

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In their previous encounter as teenagers, it was Kohli who dismissed the dangerous Williamson in the semifinal, stumped by Sreevats Goswami.

“I got Kane's wicket? Did I? I don't know if that can happen again now,” Kohli laughed. From Williamson's point of view: “He used to be an all-rounder I think back in the day, (but) hasn't bowled as much recently.”


Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli

Being the leaders of their respective sides, the mutual respect they share for each other is quite amazing. It’s not as if King Kohli respects Mr Consistent Williamson. Kohli’s admiration for Williamson began way back in 2007, even before the 2008 U-19 World when India toured New Zealand. 

“It's not even 2008, I remember 2007, we went to New Zealand and we were playing an U19 Test match and he played a shot off one of our fast bowlers, who was quick, off the back foot and I remember standing in slips and telling guys, 'I have never seen anyone play a shot like that' and he was special,” Kohli added. 

On their journey over the last 11 years, Williamson said it was “pretty special.” 

“I actually hadn't thought about that at all so I guess that's kind of cool, isn't it, that a few years later, we're here again, perhaps on a slightly different stage, but pretty special and a lot of respect to being able to lead your country out in a semifinal on the biggest stage. But I know both sides without a doubt are looking forward to getting into the challenge and yeah, it's a really exciting opportunity,” added Williamson. 

While Kohli realised that Williamson had a “special ability”, the latter knew that Kohli was a “formidable player.”

Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson

Kohli said: “We always knew he has the special ability to go all the way and now he's controlling the tempo of the game for New Zealand every game that he plays and he's contributing so well. And he's a lovely guy. We get along very well. So he's always been the main guy for them, along with Ross (Taylor), who has performed really consistently as well.” 

When Williamson’s turn arrived, the New Zealand skipper mentioned: “He was a formidable player, growing up -- that seems odd to say because we were at the same age playing against each other on a number of occasions and then to go into international cricket at a youngish age, then IPL and these different sorts of things. So it's obviously been a pleasure watching Virat play and evolve into the superstar that he is.” 

For cricket fans, watching both Williamson and Kohli go about their business -- as batsmen and leaders of the respective countries -- has been a visual treat. One can expect more from these two modern-day legends in the next five years or so.

Also read - World cup all time records

Follow Sportskeeda for all the updates on World Cup schedule, news, points table, live scores, most runs, World Cup most wickets and fantasy tips.

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