New Delhi: After playing a crucial role in Australia's World Cup victory, Mitchell Johnson is now training his eyes on the challenge of bowling to the fearsome AB de Villiers when Kings XI Punjab take on RCB in the eighth edition of Indian Premier League.

Mitchell Johnson

Johnson, who will once again spearhead the KXIP attack, termed De Villiers as the 'best batsman across most formats' and someone who is a formidable opponent.

"I think the most difficult batsman to bowl is AB de Villiers. He has been quite incredible in the last two years. He has excelled as the best player across most formats. For me it has always been a challenge to bowl to AB and a lot of guys love the challenge of bowling to him. Having said that, any quality batsman can have a good day in T20 format," Johnson, who resumed training yesterday, said during an interaction.

Johnson was all praise for Kings XI's young Indian pacers Sandeep Sharma and Shardul Thakur, as the duo impressed him with their keenness 'to learn' the art of fast bowling.

"I played with Sandeep last year. It's great to work with him as he keeps getting better and better. I saw Sandeep yesterday at the nets. He got some good pace going," said the left-arm speedster.

"What I like about Sandeep is that, he is an easy guy to work with. He listens to what I am saying as I find it important for a youngster to be able to listen to what a senior guy is saying. I am also impressed with new guy Shardul," added Johnson, who has 283 Test wickets, 239 ODI scalps apart from 38 T20 victims.

For one of world's fastest bowlers, it is important to 'talk to the youngsters and play a leading role' during the upcoming seven weeks of cash-rich league.