India's tour of New Zealand will have many eyeballs glued to it. There are going to be five ODIs and three T20Is in the span of 19 days and these games will be crucial for both the teams ahead of the World Cup later this year.
India are No.2 in ODIs and New Zealand are right behind at No.3 and the difference between the two sides is not much. They are two strong teams and along with England, the contenders for the throne.
Ian Chappell feels Virat Kohli will be known as 'Sir Donald Bradman of ODIs' at the end of his career
India and New Zealand's bench strength and form are what makes them such strong contenders and with leaders, who lead from the front, the competition is going to be not only competitive but also captivating.
The teams have different strengths but what binds them together is their captains -- who only know one thing and that is lead from the front.
Kohli and Williamson along with England's Joe Root and Australia's tarnished former captain Steve Smith easily stand out from the rest of the pack in this era. Often referred to as the "fab four" of the modern era, the quartet makes batting look easy and delightful.
But, among the four, Kohli and Williamson are the ones, who have slowly and steadily cut themselves above the two - at least in limited-overs cricket.
Kohli, by far the best, in the world currently, averages a whopping 59.68 in ODIs. The Indian captain has slammed 65 centuries across formats with 39 of them coming in ODIs. Williamson on the other hand averages an impressive but modest 46.22 in ODIs. He has 11 centuries and has scored 5316 runs from 132 ODIs compared to Kohli's 10385 from 219 matches.
But, what makes Williamson as important as his Indian counterpart is the importance to his team. By far New Zealand's best player, Kane has shown his class time and again when the team was in danger. He has scored runs, bailed them out and got them wins without any fuss.
Kohli, on the other hand, knows how to make some noise. In your face and rightfully so, Kohli is regarded the chase master and has scored 24 centuries while chasing out of which 21 have come in successful run-chases.
Kohli is currently the No.1 ODI batsman while Kane Williamson is currently 11th in the rankings for batsmen and it gets a bit unfair, however, when you put the two together in terms of the runs scored as Kohli clearly comes out as the winner but what gives Williamson the edge is his captaincy.
Under Williamson, the Kiwis have been a changed side. His tactical awareness and ability to think quick under pressure has made him the best captain in the world right now. So much so, that Williamson, who was once a squad player in Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League, is now set to be their captain in the upcoming season if David Warner becomes available for the entire season.
Kohli's ability, however, has been questioned and he leads under the constant guidance and the help of one of cricket's finest brains and greatest captains Mahendra Singh Dhoni. India have definitely made strides under Kohli and so has Kohli the captain but when it comes to reacting and taking tough calls -- Williamson will always be the bookies' favourites to make the cut and rightfully so.
However, the story again changes when statistics and especially batting comes into the fray.
Under Kohli, India have won 44 ODIs with a win per cent of 75.42 while Williamson has led the Black Caps to 31 wins from 58 matches and has a win per cent of 55.35.
Kohli as captain has amassed a humongous 3665 runs from 60 matches for India at an average of 85.23 and smashed 17 centuries. Williamson, on the other hand, has scored 2563 runs from 58 matches as captain and hit five tons at an average of 47.46.
But, Williamson's importance is the same as to Kohli's to India. The pair remains the mainstays of their batting lineups and both have delivered on more occasions than not.
Even in India's last tour of New Zealand, both Williamson and Kohli were the top-scorers for their teams. The former led the charts with 361 runs from five matches and hit five fifties while Kohli amassed 291 runs from five games and hit one century and two fifties.
The series again will pit the two greats together while Kohli remains the more fancied one to grab the eyeballs, Williamson will remain the one who does his bit and ensures his team gets the better of the visitors, who are coming on top of their game and with vengeance in mind.