New Delhi: Kohli’s hunger for improvement is a hallmark of a great player, Royal Challengers Bangalore’s batting coach Gary Kirsten said on Thursday.
Kirsten has seen Kohli from close quarters since his stint as India’s coach from 2008-11 when the national team skipper was a promising talent breaking into international cricket.
Since then Kohli has gone from strength to strength, becoming one of the world’s top batsmen and has also become the country’s captain in all three formats of the game.
“He is a great player. He continues to improve and get better. I enjoy working with him because he continually wants to learn about the game and all the great players do that,” Kirsten said, in the city to scout talent for his new academy in Pune.
The former left-hand batsman also backed Kohli’s decision of playing county cricket to familiarise himself with local conditions ahead of India s England tour, which he believes will be closely contested.
“It is good for him to prepare (for the England tour), for any player preparation is good. It will be a competitive series. I am excited about it,” the 50-year-old former Sout Africa opener said.
Kirsten also believes that the Indian Premier League has been of immense help in developing Indian players.
“They are able to play all year around and have the chance to play in different conditions more often. The excitement created through T20 cricket has also brought crowds into grounds and an entertainment factor like no other. The IPL helps tremendously in shaping the cricket in India.”
The former opener said “excitement” and “freedom to express themselves” had made young players keener on playing T20 rather than Tests.
“There is an excitement factor that connects with all players in the shorter format and a freedom to express themselves which I feel is fantastic,” he said.
Kirsten said his academy would select six players each from six cities — Pune, Bangalore, Jaipur, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai —who would be invited to Pune for a training programme in July and three players out of these 36.
Kohli is a great player. He continues to improve and get better. I enjoy working with him because he continually wants to learn about the game and all the great players do that. — Gary Kirsten