Former South African cricketer, Gary Kirsten, who had earlier served as the head coach of the Indian cricket team, recalled his first meeting with incumbent Indian skipper Virat Kohli and the valuable advice he gave him that helped him improve his batting.
Kohli made his debut in the Sri Lanka ODI series when Kirsten was the coach of India. The South African was left impressed with his talent, but felt that the youngster wasn't operating at his best.
“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.
"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,” Kirsten said on The RK show on Youtube.
Kirsten then talked about the match in the ODI series when Kohli played a rash shot after scoring 30-odd runs after which he adviced him to play shots along the ground. Kohli returned with a century in the next match.
“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.
"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,” Kirsten recalled.
It was during Kirsten's tenure that India bagged the No.1 spot in ICC Test rankings for the first time in history and two years later, the Men in Blue won the World Cup