Indian captain Virat Kohli has said the upcoming three-Test series between India and South Africa, starting January 5 in Cape Town, is not just about AB de Villiers and himself. He added that the everyone in the visiting side "wants to be a standout player" and contribute towards creating history in the "Rainbow Nation".
However, Kohli maintained that regardless of the friendship and mutual respect de Villiers and he share, the visitors will be looking to make things difficult for the star South African batsman.
Notably, de Villiers made a Test comeback against Zimbabwe in the inaugural four-day Test earlier this month after not featuring in the longest format since January 2016.
In the absence of Faf du Plessis, de Villiers even led the hosts to an innings win against the African minnows inside just two days. The right-hander, known for his pyrotechnics, scored a quickfire 53 helping after coming into bat at number four.
"I don't know, it's not like only two guys are playing in this series. AB is a great friend of mine, I respect the way he plays the game and I've always respected him as a person as well," Kohli told reporters in Cape Town on Saturday, December 30.
He added: "I don't know, it's not like only two guys are playing in this series. AB is a great friend of mine, I respect the way he plays the game and I've always respected him as a person as well.
"But when you're playing against each other, not that we cross the line with each other - we're just not like that with each other, we can't - it's just about wanting to get AB out and I'm sure the opposition would want the same when I play or [Ajinkya] Rahane plays or [Cheteshwar] Pujara plays as well."
'Everyone wants an opportunity'
Kohli also said at the interaction with reporters: "Everyone wants to be the standout player in the series and make contributions towards the team winning the series.
"Unless you have that as a group, you don't have many chances of winning the series. Some people might have brilliant individual performances but then you'll always be fine with one or two people doing well.
"But right now, the kind of hunger we have in the group, everyone wants an opportunity and I think that's a very exciting thing.
"I can't speak for the opposition, because AB hasn't played much Test cricket since he played against us, and he's coming back after a while."
Kohli and de Villiers have been sharing the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) dressing room in the Indian Premier League.
The two batsmen have been an integral part of the star-studded franchise and have stitched memorable stands to help their team win matches in the cash-rich league.
Key names to watch out for
While a lot of focus will be on the two batsmen in the upcoming series, there are quite a few in-form players who are expected to steal the limelight.
The likes of Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, who performed well in the team's 1-0 loss the last time they toured South Africa in 2013, will be key to India's chances. On the other hand, the hosts have quite a few exciting young talents in Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock and Dean Elgar, among others.
There is a lot of talk about India's improved pace battery. The visitors' bench strength and the addition of a pace-bowling all-rounder in Hardik Pandya and limited-over specialist Jasprit Bumrah has created a lot of excitement as well.