Gary Kirsten has revealed that he had advised Virat Kohli to hit the ball down in order to reduce the chances of him holing out to the deep. The South African also recalled how Kohli was extremely talented but wasn’t operating in the best version of himself, which changed soon after his chat.
One of India’s generational talents, Virat Kohli’s initial phase coincided with Gary Kirsten’s new job as the Indian head coach. Whilst Kirsten was still getting his feet under the big job, Kohli was starting to get himself to the playing XI, thanks to his immense talent. However, when Kirsten met Kohli for the first time, the South African recalled how Kohli was not operating as the best version of himself.
When the then Indian coach spotted the error that the youngster was making, he was right there and went straight to have a chat with the Delhi cricketer. Kirsten recalled how he advised a young Kohli to hit the ball down on the ground to reduce the chances of getting caught in the deep. Whilst it looks like a piece of ordinary advice, the South African admitted that the youngster was caught in the trap of getting the ball frequently in the air, which had cost him his wicket in 2009 series against Sri Lanka.
“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,” Kirsten said on The RK show on Youtube.
“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 further recalled.
Additionally, the World-Cup winning coach admitted how Kohli’s relationship with the team was formulated, with the U-19 skipper coming in as a young player.
“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,” he said.