New Delhi: Chris Gayle is considered as one of the hardest hitting openers of the game and India vice-captain Virat Kohli feels that it's difficult to emulate the West Indian because matching his exploits is almost impossible. (Agencies)
"I understand that it's better to play to your own strengths rather than emulating someone like Chris because matching him is almost impossible. Only he can bat like that," said Kohli.
"Chris Gayle is the hardest hitter of the cricket ball in the world," he added.
Kohli, who shares the dressing room with Gayle as a part of the IPL franchise, Royal Challengers Bangalore, however admitted that batting with the talismanic opener could be extremely intimidating.
"The most difficult thing is to keep yourself safe!," he said jokingly.
"On a serious note, batting with someone like Gayle can be very intimidating. When you see him batting like that at the other end, you might get bogged down with the pressure of coping with his strike-rate.
"It also works the other way. You don't need to worry about the scoring rate because he's doing all the hitting at the other end. You only have to ensure the wickets are intact," Kohli said.
Kohli, who had also led the Royal Challengers in the last edition of the IPL in the absence of injured skipper Daniel Vettori, said leading the team was "a fun experience".
"I was a bit nervous in the beginning. But once I took the field and started to think as a captain, I was fine. I was very well-supported by everyone in the team in terms of what I planned and what fields I wanted to set. That made me pretty relaxed. It was a fun experience for me," he revealed.
The 23-year-old lad from Delhi said he would like to imbibe a few qualities from each of his Royal Challengers' captains.
"From Rahul Dravid, I'd want to imbibe his patience. He is very calm and patient under the most pressure-filled situations. If your side is losing, as a captain it's not easy to control your emotions. But Rahul bhai does it so wonderfully well.
"I want Anil Kumble's competitiveness and the never-say-die attitude. He not only motivates his team but also sets an example for everyone to follow by putting in his 100 percent effort in the field.
"Vettori's composure is tremendous. The way he backs his bowlers in crunch times is especially amazing. I'd like to learn that from him," explained Kohli.
Comparing the past and current RCB teams, Kohli said, "Honestly, I think we had the best squad in 2009. With the quality of players we had then -- the likes of Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Ross Taylor, Jacques Kallis, Kevin Pietersen, Mark Boucher, Dale Steyn -- it was a really strong side.
"Having said that, even now we have some big names, like AB de Villiers, Zaheer Khan, Chris Gayle and Daniel Vettori. What makes the current team even stronger is that we gel really well as a team."
Despite a busy cricketing calendar, Kohli said he was looking forward to getting back on the cricket field.
"Yes, I'm really looking forward to batting again for RCB. IPL has always been a fun time for the players to enjoy some exciting T20 cricket," he said.
The fifth edition of the IPL is scheduled to begin in Chennai from April 4.
New Delhi: Chris Gayle is considered as one of the hardest hitting openers of the game and India vice-captain Virat Kohli feels that it's difficult to emulate the West Indian because matching his exploits is almost impossible.