Gary Kirsten is considered to be one of the best coaches India have ever had. Under his tutelage, India reached the top of the Test rankings in 2009 and in 2011 won the biggest Trophy: the 50-over World Cup Title. Gary replaced the controversial coach Greg Chappell from the hot seat in 2007. He wonderfully created a balance between star cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar and the young, hot blood like Virat Kohli. Gary’s advice to Virat when he was just a young cricketer seemed to help the pacer to take his game to the next level.
Virat Kohli made his debut in ODI cricket in 2008. Gary Kristen admitted that he saw “great abilities and talent” Virat Kohli possessed, Kirsten knew “he wasn’t operating in the best version of himself”.
Gary recalled the initial days of Virat Kohli
Remembering an ODI series against Sri Lanka, where Virat started good but threw it away by going for a big one, Gary recalled telling the right-handed batsman to cut the risk out of the game, if he wanted to take his “cricket to next level”.
“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,” Gary Kirsten said on the ‘The RK Show’.
“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.
Gary’s advice to young Kohli
“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 to long-on. 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 a little bit and got a hundred in the next one in Kolkata,” Kirsten said on the chat show.
“Our relationship was formulated around him as a young player coming in, and me trying to say to him ‘listen, you might think you have got it, but you have a long way to go’ kind of vibe,” added the South African.
The current Indian captain flourished under the watchful eyes of Gary Kirsten and became an integral part of India’s 2011 World Cup-winning team and later on a world-class cricketer across all formats.
Right now Virat Kohli holds the number one rank in ICC ODI rankings and second rank in Test rankings. In T20I’s Virat Kohli holds 10th rank. The player hold a massive score all around the world with 27 centuries in Test cricket and 43 in ODI.
He has an average of 53.62 in Test cricket, 59.33 in ODI’s and 50.80 in the shortest format. It seems like Gary’s advice to Virat has made him the consistent player that he is today, with his record in successful chases better than anyone else.