England captain Joe Root has handed mercurial Aussie Steve Smith a backhanded compliment ahead of Australia’s up-coming Test Series with India.
Root was asked about the rivals he is often compared too when it comes to the best in modern cricket.
‘NEW LEVEL’: Cricket world erupts over extraordinary photo
While he is quite often compared to Smith, Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson in cricket’s ‘Big Four’, Root was quick to dismiss the comparisons.
“You’re looking at three of the greatest players the game has seen. I’m not sure I’d put myself in their bracket, to be honest,” he told CricInfo.
Despite the fierce Ashes rivalry, Root was able to save some praise for Smith and his incredible determination.
However, Root was clear that Smith’s unusual technique was not easy on the eye.
“You look at Smith and at times he’s just awful to watch,” Root added.
“It’s horrible on the eye. But you’d pay to have him in your team. He’s a fantastic run-scorer. The way he thinks about the game and manages passages of play is exceptional.”
Root’s praise of Smith comes after the previous Ashes series in 2019, which saw him score 671 runs at an average of 134.20.
Root praises Kohli as ‘complete’
But Root saved his biggest praise for Indian captain Kohli.
He claimed Kohli’s insane ability to chase runs in all formats of the game, the Indian captain currently averages over 50 in all three formats, makes him the most “complete player” of the pack.
Root was often considered in the pack with Smith, Kohli and Williamson when he was averaging 55.49 after his first 45 Tests for England.
But since January 2019, Root’s overall average has dropped below 50.
During his tenure as captain, Root has averaged 42.48.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.