Boucher told me to improve my game against the short ball: Kohli

Bengaluru, April 24 (IANS) A young Virat Kohli still trying to make a mark in the Indian Premier League (IPL) was told by former Test wicketkeeper and current South Africa head coach Mark Boucher to learn the art of playing the short ball to survive in international cricket.

“Boucher told me in 2008 to improve my game against the short ball. He had the vision. He also told me when I come to India in four years time and if I don’t see you playing for India, I will be disappointed,” Kohli said to his star teammate and South Africa batting great AB de Villiers during an Instagram live chat.

The Indian captain and batting masterclass also acknowledged the contributions of Gary Kirsten and Duncan Fletcher early on in his career.

“Gary always gave me positive feedback. Then Fletcher, he had a keen eye for the game. So many people who have contributed (to my growth),” said Kohli.

De Villiers picked the 119 at Wankhede in the 2015 series decider as his best knock against India. Kohli picked the 119 he scored in the Johannesburg Test in 2013.

“I was always really motivated to win the series after 2-2 . I was incredibly motivated to do something special,” de Villiers said.

Kohli said at times, the youngsters coming in have too much regard for the “system” and he wants to see them break the stereotype.

“I want to see youngsters coming in scoring 500-600 runs. I want people to break the norm. Sometimes I feel people have too much regard for the system in sport. When you break the shackles, you do something special.”

De Villiers added that Kohli leads by example and that is what drives those who play under him.

“That’s the captain you are. As a player I feel I am letting you down if I am not scoring runs. That’s the vibe.”

On the donation work during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kohli said: “You don’t have to tell the world what you are doing to help in these trying times, get a feeling everyone is seeking validation about their contribution.”