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“From the beginning, I was very sure that he was a rare talent and would become a great player”
Former India coach Gary Kirsten has revealed that he knew vice-captain Virat Kohli was destined for greatness the first time he met him and worked on his batting technique.
Kirsten added that he felt fortunate to have played a role in the batsman’s rise from a loud-mouth aggressive youngster to the vice-captain of the Indian national team.
“I always had a different kind of feeling when I started working with Virat Kohli,” Kirsten told PTI. “From the beginning, I was very sure that he was a rare talent and would become a great player. He grew massively in these past few years and has matured a lot. I was fortunate to be part of that process of seeing him grow and that give me immense pleasure.”
Kohli made his international debut in 2008 and played 54 ODIs, in which he scored five centuries, during Kirsten’s tenure as head coach.
Since Kirsten left his post after India triumphed in the 2011 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup, Kohli has dropped the attitude and become one of the greatest batsman India have produced in a long time.
However, Kirsten was also careful never to make any comparisons between Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar.
“I have always been very careful about appointing someone in that place (Tendulkar’s replacement),” he said. “It’s a very dangerous position and very risky to name anyone.
“All I can say is that Kohli is a fantastic batsman whom the opposition bowlers are finding difficult to get out. The teams nowadays do a lot of planning to get him out.”
Kirsten also praised Shikhar Dhawan, who he worked with for a brief period of time in 2010, for his outstanding performances over the past couple of months.
“Unlike Kohli, I haven’t seen much of Dhawan but what I have gathered over time after some interactions with him is that he has a massive amount of self-belief in his abilities which is very refreshing,” Kirsten said.
The former coach will once again have a chance to work closely with Indian talents as he recently signed a deal to become the Delhi Daredevils’ head coach for the next three years.