They will not give each other an inch of space when India and South Africa lock horns in a World Cup match on Sunday but Virat Kohli feels that once the game is over, he will again be “best buddies” with his former Royal Challengers Bangalore teammate Dale Steyn. (Full Coverage| Points table| Fixtures)
“I played with him (Steyn) in RCB for three years, and we became such good friends that we’ve carried on our friendship after that, as well. Whenever I meet him, he gives me the biggest hug, and it’s been consistent throughout. Even if we have to play a game before that, we are always really friendly,” Kohli said about his close friend.
“We know on the field, come game time, I’ll be looking to dominate him and he’ll be looking to dominate me, which is a mutual respect kind of a thing, I guess. Whatever is said and done at that point of time, it’s taken in good sportsman’s spirit because we know after the game we’ll obviously be best buddies again,” Kohli said about the world’s No 1 fast bowler.
For Kohli, Steyn is the “special one” even though he shares a good rapport with a lot of South African players.
“I think I’ve shared a great friendship with a lot of South African players over the years, and Dale has to be one of the more special ones.”
Kohli said he respects Steyn’s passion as he also has a similar streak in him.
“He’s a completely different person on the field, which is absolutely fine. He’s very aggressive. He’s obviously very passionate about playing for South Africa. There’s a good reason why he’s the best bowler in the world for a while now, and he’s so consistent because he has that mentality, and off the field, he’s a completely different person.
“He jokes around, he laughs all the time, and you wouldn’t know that unless you know him. I think it’s pretty similar with me and him, how we are on the field and off the field. That’s why I think we get along really well together,” Kohli said.