Gary Kirsten’s advice helped Virat Kohli take his batting to next level
We have often observed how expert’s advice helps the batsman or a bowler take the game to the next level. Take, for example, Gary Kirsten. He is one of the best coaches India have had and it’s because of his advice, the Indian team managed to go to the top of the Test rankings in the year 2009 and then two years later, Kirsten helped India win the 50-over World Cup title.
Gary Kirsten was well aware of Virat Kohli’s potential at that time itself. However, Kirsten knew “Khli wasn’t operating in the best version of himself”. Kirsten recalled an ODI series against Sri Lanka, where Virat Kohli, after a good start, threw his wicket away by going for a big one.
Kirsten had recalled telling Virat Kohli to cut the risk out his game if he was to bring the best out of himself and to take the “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,” the South African 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.
“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 Kirsten.
Virat Kohli bloomed under Kirsten’s watchful eyes and thus going on to become a pivotal part of India’s 2011 World Cup-winning team. Today, he is one of the best batsmen in the world across formats. He is number one in ICC ODI rankings, second in Test rankings and 10th in T20I rankings. He has always scored runs all around the world and scored 27 Test centuries and 43 ODI hundreds.
He is the only batsman who averages fifty plus across formats. He averages 53.62 in Tests, 59.33 in ODIs and 50.80 in T20Is.