Former Indian Head Coach Gary Kirsten recently talked about his experiences with young Virat Kohli during his coaching tenure for the Indian national cricket team.
The 31-year-old Virat Kohli is now leading the Indian team efficiently. He has also set a great example of consistent batting as he has maintained the 50+ batting average in every international cricket format. While the right-handed batsman Kohli is the most run-scorer in T20I history, he is also the eighth-most run-scorer in international cricket history.
At present, Kohli is the no.1-ranked ODI batsman, no.2-ranked Test batsman and no.10-ranked T20I batsman. He has hit 70 international centuries, the third most number of centuries for a batsman in international cricket history. Only the legendary Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar (100 centuries) and Australian cricketer Ricky Ponting (71 centuries) hit more international centuries than Kohli.
Talking about their initial meeting, Gary Kirsten opened up that the young player Kohli still had to develop a lot of things to reach his today’s position.
Kirsten said on The RK show on Youtube, “Our relationship was formulated around him as a young player coming in, and me trying to say to him that he has a long way to go and to build in some consistent behaviors into the way he played this game.”
Virat Kohli wasn’t operating in the best version of himself: Gary Kirsten
During Kohli’s early age of the international career, Kirsten realised that the youngster wasn’t producing his best version in the game. Kirsten also recalled a story on it.
Kirsten claimed, “When I met Virat first up, he had great abilities and talent and he was a young guy. But I kind of knew straight away that he wasn’t operating in the best version of himself. So we had a number of discussions.
“I’ll never forget one when we were playing an ODI series against Sri Lanka, and he was batting beautifully and he was on 30-odd not out. He then decided that he would try and hit the (bowler) over long-on’s head for six. And he got holed out.”
After that match, Kirsten suggested him to follow the lower-risked shots to grow up his game to the next level. The former Indian Head Coach also added that Kohli listened to his advice and scored an ODI century very soon.
Kirsten said, “I just said to him, ‘If you’re going to take your cricket to the next level, you need to hit that ball down the ground for one. You know you can hit a lot of balls up the ground, but there’s a lot of risk attached to that.’ I think he took that on board, he got a hundred in the next one-day in Kolkata.”
Later, Kirsten also coached the IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) between 2018 and 2019 where Virat Kohli is still leading the side.