Gary Kirsten, Virat Kohli, IPL 2018, RCB, India
Gary Kirsten and Virat Kohli © AFP

Gary Kirsten retired from International cricket in 2004 and took on coaching ever since. He served Indian cricket for four years, from 2007 to 2011. During his tenure India rose to the top of the ICC Test rankings and lifted the 2011 World Cup. Kirsten also coached Delhi Daredevils in IPL and is back in the league to coach Royal Challengers Bangalore. In an interview with cricbuzz Kirsten emphasised on the difference between coaching an international team and a franchise, and on Virat Kohli who started his career during his tenure.

On franchise cricket vs international cricket: “It is different because with a franchise team. Your stakeholders are regional. You have the owner who shows a particular interest in the success of the team. The focus and the attention is narrow. Whereas with an international team, the stakeholders are the entire country. It is a much bigger journey and a lot more people are involved in the success of the team,” said Kirsten.

On Virat Kohli: “It is great to be working with Virat again because he started when I was the coach. We had a lot of conversations early in his career about how he needs to set up his game. We knew he was going to be a great player, it was just a question of when and how he needed to play to be able to achieve the consistency in his game. A lot of those conversations have in many ways given him some of the thinking around how he needs to build his game. That has been fun. To come back and start working with him again to see how he is going, we are just kind of building that relationship again. I am really enjoying it.

“Any guy with half a cricket eye would have known that he was going to be a great player. His hunger for runs, his ball-striking ability — we are talking 2008 — he hit the ball to all parts of the ground, got natural power and then the determination to go with it. He had the hunger to be great. It was all there. That’s one of the easier recruitments you could make.

“It has been an amazing natural progression. As he moves into this next phase, he has gone from the prodigious talent to the high performer. The challenge now is to maintain consistency for a long period of time, to grow his leadership base and he is doing that because I think it is an ongoing process. He seems to be in a space where he is really willing to take the learning that needs to be taken.”