Virat Kohli is known as the king of chasing down totals in limited-overs cricket and former India opener Gautam Gambhir believes that the current India skipper has always been a smart operator and that has helped him succeed at the international level.

In fact, Gambhir believes that Kohli’s effort to work on his fitness has helped him come a long way as he doesn’t have the strength or ability that some of the top class international cricketers have had over the years.

Speaking on Star Sports Cricket Connected, Gambhir heaped praise on Kohli, when asked what makes him so effective in the shortest format, “He was always a very smart cricketer, but then he turned his entire T20 career into a very successful one, just by being supremely fit. Probably because he does not have the strength of Chris Gayle, he doesn’t have the ability of AB de Villiers, he probably does not have the ability of somebody likes Jacques Kallis or Brian Lara.

“The biggest strength he’s got is now his fitness and he’s turned that into his game as well, that”s why he has become so successful, so you got to give it to the guy. The most important thing is that he runs really well between the wickets, not many people do it.”

Speaking about Kohli’s batting style, Gambhir added, “I think in T20 cricket people forget, people do not give enough importance to dot balls. If you play less dot balls you’re always under less pressure, you could rotate the strike and take a single of every ball. The easiest thing to do in cricket is to hit a six or a four, because ultimately, you’re playing that high-risk shot. If it comes off, everyone loves it. If it doesn’t come off, probably you are back in the pavilion.

“But there are very few cricketers in world cricket at this time who can rotate of every ball and that is what Kohli does really well and that’s why he’s different from the rest. You see Rohit, probably Rohit doesn’t have that quality which Kohli has to rotate the strike. Rohit has the ability to hit those big shots, but that’s where Kohli is more consistent than Rohit. Chris Gayle or AB de Villiers don’t have that ability to rotate the strike, especially against spin bowling, but Kohli has that, that’s why he averages 50.”

Former Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara had recently spoken on the show about how the duo of Kohli and Rohit are a defining pair in the modern era.

“There is something very special about Virat and Rohit. That fact that rules have changed and maybe run-scoring might have become slightly easier in one-day cricket, but the fact remains that to be so consistent across all formats, he”s so consistent in T20 cricket. It”s incredibly hard, the volume of cricket that India athletes plays.

“So, I think you have to have a lot of respect for Rohit and Virat but understand that it’s all because of the players that have gone before and have done all the hard work then as well. So, it’s a knock-on effect, so in every era, there’s always a defining pair and in the modern era, its Rohit and Virat for India for sure,” he pointed.

(With agency inputs)