Virat Kohli is one of cricket's leading statesmen and showing his class, the India captain on Thursday hailed Jofra Archer as England's "x-factor" in the Cricket World Cup 2019.
Archer marked his call-up to England's World Cup squad on Tuesday by setting his sights on taking the wicket of Kohli. The 24-year-old, who played for Rajasthan Royals, said that he'd "quite like to get Virat Kohli out" because he "wasn't able to do in the just-concluded Indian Premier League.
Any batsman would have responded in kind to such a statement, but Kohli instead chose to say that "Jofra saying that is a big compliment because he himself is a world-class bowler."
Archer has played only three ODIs but has been an asset on the T20 circuit with his death bowling.
"He is probably going to be their X factor. He holds a skill-set that is very different from the rest. He can generate a lot of pace and he is just a great athlete. I am sure England is delighted to have him. It would be exciting to watch him in the World Cup," Kohli said at the official ICC press conference for the captains.
Archer, who had an impressive IPL for Rajasthan Royals, recently made his international debut, and has world's No 1 batsman's wicket on his wish-list.
"Jofra saying that is a big compliment because he himself is a world class bowler. The way he has come up in the last couple of years, I have seen him in the IPL, there is a good reason why he has been fast-tracked into playing for England in a tournament like World Cup," the Indian skipper added.
However Kohli, at the same time, made it clear that he is hardly bothered about a bowler's goal.
"You don't focus on these things. Even as an individual you don't focus on who is wanting to get you out or you being spoken about. Our focus is mainly to contribute to the team in whatever way we can. I take a lot of pride in performing for the team, making impact performances for the team in every game."
Kohli also praised the talented Rashid Khan, saying that it was the first time during the recently concluded IPL that he could read the Afghan's deliveries, sitting in the RCB dug-out.
"I have seen him for three years now and this year was the first time I didn't play against him. This was the first time that I could sit outside and predict 9 out of 10 balls that he bowled. Yes, it's the first time in three years and that's how good he has been," Kohli complimented Rashid.
"He (Rashid) has been outstanding with his skills sets and pace on the ball is the key. Variations are really subtle and he doesn't give you any time on the ball, let alone flight the ball and before you realise it hits the bat or through the pads and you get bowled or lbw or stuff like that," said Kohli.
What Kohli likes most in Rashid's bowling is his fast-bowler like aggression.
"He brings that fast bowler like intensity as a spinner, which is rare to see. I love competitive guys and his attitude is absolutely outstanding. When he bowls well, you want to sit and watch him bowl. He will be very important for Afghanistan."
The Indian skipper admitted that losing a home series 2-3 to Australia was a humbling experience and also showed how self-belief trumps everything else even when a team is in dire straits.
"If a team on a given day gets together against a very experienced side and they believe that they can win, then they can. I think that is what we learnt from that series loss.
"We were 2-0 up and we thought we would definitely win but they showed more passion, more character and more determination. They enjoyed every moment. We took a lot of learning from the series. In this World Cup, the team needs to have that passion and determination to win," he concluded.
(With PTI inputs)