Virat Kohli and Steve Smith are widely regarded as two of the finest batsmen of the current generation and there record across formats is a testament to their incredible talents.

Kohli is the only batsman currently to average over at least 50 in each of the three formats while Smith’s record in Test cricket is Bradmanesque.

Despite their on-field rivalry, the duo share immense mutual respect and an example of it was set by Kohli during the ODI World Cup last year when he chided a section of fans for booing Smith who was playing in his first international tournament since the end of a year-long ball-tampering ban.

Smith, on his part, says he admires Kohli for his work ethic, especially the way he chases in limited-overs cricket.

“I admire Virat Kohli a lot, he is an amazing player,” Smith was quoted as saying by “You look at his record and it’s simply incredible.He has done so much for India in cricket. You know the way they play the game now and the sheer passion he has got for Indian cricket. His willingness to improve and get better. His body seems to have transformed over time and he looks so fit and powerful.”

Kohli averages a phenomenal 59.33 in ODIs, an average that rises to 68.33 during chases.

“The one thing I really admire about him is the way he chases in white-ball cricket. You look at his average in winning chases in ODIs and it is simply phenomenal,” Smith said.

The last time India toured Australia, they returned home with a historic Test series win. During that tour, the hosts were missing the services of Smith and David Warner, both of which were in the middle of their ball-tampering bans.

However, this time around, the duo will be available when India visit Australia for a four-Test tour later this year and Smith is expecting it to be a tough challenge.

“It will be a challenge I think because India are an incredible team,” Smith said. “Their batting line-up is so strong. ‘You’ve got Virat, (Cheteshwar) Pujara last time here was immovable. (Ajinkya) Rahane is a quality Test player. Then they have got (KL) Rahul and (Rohit) Sharma. They have got great batters everywhere.”

“They have got a strong bowling line-up to go with that with (Mohammed) Shami, (Jasprit) Bumrah and (Ishant)Sharma. So it’s just a well-rounded team and it’s going to be a terrific series that’s for sure,” he added.