VIRAFormer Australia pacer Geoff Lawson has heaped praise on in-form India’s Test captain Virat Kohli, saying the star batsman is “arguably the number one batsman in the world”.

“Kohli at the moment is arguably the number one batsman in the world. He is in the form of his life. I was impressed with him when I saw him on the first tour to Australia (in 2011-12),” Lawson told reporters on Saturday.

“He was (among) the few Indian batsmen who took on the challenge of playing on the bouncy Australian wickets,” said the former Australia fast bowler, who is on a short coaching sting at the Payyade Sports Club in suburban Kandivili.

Lawson, who took 180 wickets in 46 Tests and 88 in 79 ODIs in a career spanning nine years between 1980 and 1989, was referring to Kohli topping the batting averages with 300 runs in the disastrous 0-4 whitewash under Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the 2011-12 season.

“You can see in his face, he took it on as a personal challenge to be good on those pitches. While the other batsmen, including (Sachin) Tendulkar, were sort of failing around him, Kohli really relished something different. For him it is not good just playing in India, you need to (be) good all over the world,” Lawson added.

Kohli, who has been in tremendous form in the T20 format of the game that includes the ongoing IPL, notched the only century by an Indian in the series – in the Adelaide Test.

According to Lawson, since that first visit Down Under Kohli has got better and better.

“I wouldn’t like to be bowling to him in the IPL. It is difficult to get him out and if you do so, you have to get out Ab de Villiers and Shane Watson (who both bat in the top order for RCB) as well,” quipped Lawson.