Bangalore:Former South African opening batsman Gary Kirsten has signed a two-year contract with the Indian cricket board starting March 1, a top official confirmed in Bangalore on Sunday.
"Yes, Kirsten has signed a two-year contract with the board and he will formally take charge from March 1, 2008," Ratnakar Shetty, chief administrative officer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said.
Kirsten, who arrived here Friday to interact with the board officials and observe what the players do in the ongoing third Test against Pakistan, signed the contract before he left South Africa for India.
"We sent the contract through courier and he signed and returned it by courier. But he confirmed this through fax too," said Shetty.
The 40-year-old Kirsten, who would replace Australian Greg Chappell as the permanent coach, would spend some time with the team when India tours Australia starting from Dec 20.
"There is a 10-day gap between the second and third Tests against Australia. He will spend time with the team during this period before taking over formally on March 1," he said.
Kirsten, who played 101 Tests and 185 One-Day Internationals before retiring in 2004, is staying in the team hotel.
"I am part of the set-up, so I have to see how it (system) works," he said after arriving here Friday. "I will get to know the players and observe what they do."
Kirsten watched the match at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday and Sunday. "He would leave India Sunday night," said Shetty.
Kirsten, who had not even applied for the post, was surprisingly called to New Delhi and interviewed recently by the BCCI coach selection committee led by board president Sharad Pawar.
Around 20 people, including interim manager Lalchand Rajput, had applied for the post that has been vacant since March when Chappell decided against renewing his contract after a two-year tumultuous tenure.
It was during Chappell's tenure that India suffered a humiliating first-round exit from the World Cup in the West Indies.
Former India players Ravi Shastri, Chandu Borde and Rajput have been temporary managers of the team on tours of Bangladesh, England, South Africa and the home series against Australia and Pakistan in the absence of a permanent coach.