Hyderabad, Sep 4: Former India coach 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 Kohli. 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," Kirsten told PTI in an interview.
Kirsten was on Tuesday (September 3) appointed chief coach of the Delhi Daredevils for the seventh season of the Indian Premier League.
Asked whether Kohli be able to step into Sachin Tendulkar's shoes once the legend calls time on his illustrious career spanning close to two and a half decades, Kirsten was very cautious about his choice of words.
"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. 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.
Not many people know that India's latest batting sensation Shikhar Dhawan made his international debut (ODI) in 2010 when Kirsten was the coach and the former South African opener 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.