India news September 3, 2013

Kohli a rare talent - Kirsten

ESPNcricinfo staff

Gary Kirsten has said he knew Virat Kohli was destined for success when he worked with the batsman during his tenure as India coach and added that he was fortunate to be a part of Kohli's development process.

"I always had a different kind of feeling when I started working with Virat Kohli," Kirsten told PTI. "From the beginning, I was very 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 give me immense pleasure."

Kohli made his debut in India's limited-overs squad in 2008 and was part of 54 ODIs during the Kirsten years, scoring five centuries. Since Kirsten's departure as India coach, following the World Cup win in 2011, Kohli has matured to become the best batsman in the Indian side and has also graduated to the Tests. However, Kirsten was careful not to make any comparisons between Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar.

"I have always been very careful about appointing someone in that place (Tendulkar's replacement). It's a very dangerous position and very risky to name anyone.

"All I can say is that Kohli is a fantastic batsman whom the opposition bowlers are finding difficult to get out. The teams nowadays do a lot of planning to get him out."

Kirsten also had words of praise for Shikhar Dhawan with whom he had limited interaction when Dhawan made his ODI debut in 2010.

"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 a massive amount of self-belief in his abilities which is very refreshing," Kirsten said.

Kirsten will have another chance to work with Indian talent after he signed up as coach of Delhi Daredevils for the next three years.