Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson isn't expecting New Zealand fans to emulate their Aussie contemporaries when Indian counterpart Virat Kohli asks for middle and leg in their tour of India.

"Someone like Virat is certainly a player I admire and enjoy to watch and he's pushing the boundaries of the game so that's brilliant," said Williamson in Napier today before the 3pm ODI series opener at McLean Park from 3pm.

He said Kohli was a passionate cricketer and felt that was the gist of what the bolshy batsman and leader was about.

"He's a respectful guy and I've known him for a very long time but as a player, obviously, word class and our focus is more about that and his cricketing ability and how we can combat him as best as we can."

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Williamson said the opposition was different from Sri Lanka but the focus remained on what the Kiwis were intending to do.

He felt the collective drive to mould a better template overrode any other desire, including the need to clinch another series at home or, for that matter, the ODI World Cup looming in the northern hemisphere summer.

In mutual admiration, Williamson teed up Kohli for his in-your-face approach to batting that had made him a crowd puller around the world.

"Obviously a world-class player, Virat, and he's always a challenge to come up against and is someone who is most admired in terms of how he goes about his cricket and he's formidable in his run scoring so he's definitely a player of note to try to shut down."

However, the 28-year-old was quick to counter that appraisal with the need to keep an eye on myriad match winners among the world No 2 side.

With a balmy 30C forecast, McLean will, sooner or later, provide the fireworks on the perennial promise of a bullish wicket and, no doubt, can easily mutate into a graveyard for the unsuspecting bowler or two.

"I guess, depending on surfaces, and the surfaces here are often very good and the scores are fairly high so it's important the batting group puts together a plan that is good but, at the same time, the bowlers have a massive role in that in trying to nullify the strengths in both oppositions."