After the horrendous stint with Greg Chappell, India turned to Gary Kirsten in 2007 for the post of head coach. The South African played a very important role in helping the Indian team pick up pace. Key for Kirsten was handling the mix of experience and youth, like Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli.
Kohli made his ODI debut in 2008 and while the former South African opener admitted that he saw the "great abilities and talent" he possessed straight away, Kirsten was also aware that "he wasn't operating in the best version of himself".
Kirsten remembered an ODI series against Sri Lanka, where Kohli, after a good start, threw it away when he tried to go for a big shot.
The South African recalled telling the right-hander to cut the risk out his game, if he was to take his "cricket to next level".
"When I met Virat first up, he had great abilities and talent and he was a young guy. But I kind of knew straight away that he wasn't operating in the best version of himself. So, we had a number of discussions," Gary Kirsten said on the 'The RK Show'.
“I'll never forget one, when we were playing an ODI series against Sri Lanka, and he was batting beautifully and he was on 30-odd not out. He then decided that he would try and hit the (bowler) over long-on's head for six. And he got holed out.
“I just said to him, ‘If you're going to take your cricket to the next level, you need to hit that ball down the ground for one to long-on. You know you can hit a lot of balls up the ground, but there's a lot of risk attached to that'. I think he took that on board a little bit and got a hundred in the next one in Kolkata," Kirsten said.
"Our relationship was formulated around him as a young player coming in, and me trying to say to him 'listen, you might think you have got it, but you have a long way to go' kind of vibe," added the South African.
Kohli flourished under Kirsten's watchful eyes, going on to become an integral part of India's 2011 World Cup-winning team, and then pushing on to become one of the best in the world across formats.