Blackcaps vs India: Batting master Virat Kohli pays tribute to NZ counterpart Kane Williamson

Arguably the world's best cricketer, Indian captain Virat Kohli has paid a massive tribute to Blackcaps counterpart Kane Williamson on the eve of their one-day series opener in Napier.

Kohli, 30, is ranked the world's top batsman in test and ODI formats - one spot ahead of Williamson in the longer form and two ahead of NZ maestro Ross Taylor over 50 overs.

But the touring skipper admits Williamson is perhaps his favourite batsman in world cricket, certainly from an aesthetic perspective.

"He's easily one of the best players in the world," Kohli told media on Tuesday. "So easy on the eye and great to watch.

"I really enjoy watching his batting personally and when he's on song, he's the most attractive to watch, that's what I feel.

"He's always a very solid player for New Zealand, purely because of what he's done over all three formats. The way he's gone about making those runs, he more or less makes his team win, when he scores those runs.

"I think that tells you about his awareness of the game - he's leading the side and guiding them in the right direction.

"Kane is a very important factor for them, but Roscoe and those other guys, you can't take them for granted."

The Indians have just completed a dominant tour of Australia, a rivalry that often seems to bring out the worst behaviour in both sides.

By contrast, Kohli's respect for the Blackcaps is apparent.

"The fact that they are the number three-ranked team in the world speaks to their consistency over the past couple of years," he said. "The bowling attack is experienced, but at the same time, not that old.

"Tim [Southee], Trent [Boult]… all these guys have experience, but they also have that buzz about them all the time.

"They play their cricket in the right way and that's something we always appreciate about the New Zealand cricket team."

That respect is mutual.

"Obviously, Virat is a world-class player," said Williamson. "He's always a challenge to come up against and someone that most admire in terms of his cricket and his formidable run-scoring.

"He's definitely a player of note to try and shut down, but at the same time, there's so many quality players in that side. Although he's world class, you don't want to get too consumed by one individual."

Newshub.

Join us at 3pm Wednesday for live updates of the Blackcaps vs India ODI in Napier.