Hyderabad: Gary Kirsten always had the belief that the immensely talented Virat Kohli will grow into a “great cricketer” and the South African considers himself fortunate to have been a part of that process.
“I always had a different kind of feeling when I started working with Virat. From the very beginning, I was 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 gave me immense pleasure,” the former India coach said.
Kirsten was very cautious with his choice of words when he was asked whether Kohli will be able to step into Sachin Tendulkar’s shoes, once the legend calls time on his illustrious career.
“I have always been very careful about appointing someone in that place (Sachin’s replacement). It’s a very dangerous position and very risky to name anyone. That’s something that you guys (media) do but I won’t do that.
“All I can say is that Kohli is a fantastic batsman whom the opposition bowlers are finding it difficult to get out. The teams nowadays do a lot of planning to get him out,” he said.
Just like his numerous fans, Kirsten’s love and respect for Sachin is unquestionable. “I can’t say anything new or beautiful that hasn’t already been said about the great man. For me, Sachin has been very humble, always ready to learn being a thorough professional. It was a pleasure and honour working with him.”
Under Kirsten, India’s latest batting sensation Shikhar Dhawan had made his international debut (ODI) in 2010. Kirsten was all praise for the stylish left-handed batsman, saying he is impressed with Dhawan’s ‘self belief’.
“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 massive amount of self belief in his abilities, which is very refreshing,” he observed.
Kirsten was effusive in his praise for current coach Duncan Fletcher and said the Zimbabwean’s coaching philosophy and situation was quite different from his. (PTI)