Gary Kirsten, Virat Kohli, Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2018
Gary Kirsten (left) played a big role in Virat Kohli’s development as a cricketer © AFP

Back in 2008, it was under Gary Kirsten’s tenure as India coach, a 19-year-old Virat Kohli broke into the national side. Kohli was backed by Kirsten during his younger days and went on to play a crucial role in India’s 2011 World Cup triumph. Kohli played a crucial role in getting the South African as Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) batting coach for IPL 2018.

“I was personally in favour of getting Gary on board. This discussion came up sometime before the auction. I thought it’s a great opportunity for the younger guys to spend time with Gary,” Kohli was quoted as saying by The Times of India.

Kohli revealed that he had benefitted from Kirsten’s inputs in early stages of his career and it made him develop as a sportsperson. Speaking about his working chemistry with the South African, Kohli added, “I benefited massively from his inputs in the early stages of my career and that certainly made me a better cricketer in those tough times. I had a great working relationship with Gary. In terms of the batting group operating, I think he’s the ideal man to supervise things. He can keep the batting group together which I saw him do at the international level with the Indian team. Having so many big names in the team and how he got everyone together and the team spirit going, I think that was an outstanding factor.”

Previously, Kirsten was the head coach of Delhi Daredevils and has also coached Hobart Hurricanes in BBL. Daniel Vettori continues his role as RCB’s head coach, whereas Ashish Nehra has joined the side as its bowling coach. RCB begin their campaign on Sunday, against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), at Eden Gardens.