Coaching India is esteemed: Kirsten

Updated: 02 December 2007 11:46 IST

Former South African opener Gary Kirsten has said his job as the new cricket coach of India was very much a "reality".


As BCCI officials meet on Saturday to discuss the issue, former South African opener Gary Kirsten has said his job as the new cricket coach of India was very much a "reality" and the deal would be "signed and sealed" by Monday.

BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah has also confirmed Kirsten's appointment as coach of the Indian team.

Kirsten speaks

"They (BCCI) have given me a week to make a decision but it's pretty much a reality. By Monday, it will be pretty much signed and sealed," he said in a recent interview.

"I have turned down numerous coaching opportunities due to family reasons in the past but this one is such an esteemed one that I have to take a different look at it," Kirsten said.

"It's something I always wanted to do and to be offered such an esteemed job is mind-boggling. It's something I am proud to have," he added.

Kirsten said only logistics part of the deal was remaining to be negotiated after which he would finalise his decision.

"I am very keen in principle to take up the post. At present, I am just looking at the logistics with my family and how it is going to work out. Negotiations are underway about this and I would make a final decision by Monday."

Kirsten said the job would become effective immediately but he had obtained an assurance that he could start from March 1 next year as he had a number of commitments in South Africa.

"I will be moving in and out for the time being and then join the team on its long Australian tour," said the African, who will joined the team only after the second Test in Australia.

Kirsten said he had a very good chat with new skipper Anil Kumble, who was very supportive.

"He was very encouraged that I could join the team. I am also certainly looking forward to working with Anil and the rest of the team."

He said he had discussed it with Kumble and the skipper had no problem with that.

"The last thing you want to do is come in and be a distraction, but I have spoken to Anil about my situation and he is comfortable with me joining the tour later."

On how the whole process started, Kirsten revealed receiving an e-mail from former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, also an important member of BCCI's coach selection committee, and said he was surprised.

"I think it's an incredible honour. When I received an e-mail from Sunil Gavaskar a couple of weeks ago, initially I was rather surprised and then realised what an honour it is to be supposedly headhunted for what I could consider to be such a fantastic job."

Aware that he does not have the experience of coaching a side in the past, Kirsten, however, oozed confidence of making a mark and said he would not try to impose ideas on his wards.

"I will not be coming in and imposing my ideas on them. That would be wrong. I will try and blend in and help anyway I can."

Dwelling on the Australia tour, Kirsten predicted India would cash in on Australia's lack of a quality spinner, especially after doubt over Stuart MacGill.

"They've obviously had Shane Warne there for many years, and he was able to fill a lot of jobs for them, most notably his ability to strike and take wickets in all conditions and situations," Kirsten said.

"Now there is a possibility that Australia may play an inexperienced spinner, and I'm sure the Indian batsmen will look to put pressure on whoever that turns out to be," Kirsten said.
"If they can do that successfully, it could play into India's hands. They have got a good record against Australia, and I think the guys are feeling pretty confident heading into the series," he said.

The South African, however, insisted that the Australians could never be underestimated.

"I'm always very wary of an Australian team that seems to have a few holes in it," he said.

"They have plenty of depth and in a lot of cases have the players to replace those who have left. Someone like Hogg is a good example, having played a lot of one-day cricket, and he could do a good job. Still, there seems to be uncertainty there, so you have to look at it."

Earlier, Kirsten was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald that he was approached late by the BCCI and hence could join the Indian squad only in the second half of their Australia tour.

"The reality is that I was approached quite late by the Indian board, and, in accepting the job, I told them I had commitments over Christmas and New Year. But it looks like we are close to resolving that issue, and I will join the team for the last two Tests," Kirsten was quoted as saying by the daily.

Formal announcement yet to come

Former South Africa Test batsman Gary Kirsten has been appointed India team coach but a formal announcement would be made only in a week, a top Indian cricket board official said in Kolkata on Saturday.

"Kirsten has been appointed the coach," Rajeev Shukla, a vice-president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said in Kolkata.

"Kirsten will be the chief coach on India's tour of Australia, starting this month, and Lalchand Rajput will be his assistant for just that series to felicitate the handing over of the charge. Kirsten will be the 'coach' and Rajput will be 'cricket manager'," he said during the second day of the second India-Pakistan Test at the Eden Gardens.

Rajput, who guided India to the Twenty20 World Championship in September, is currently the team's cricket manager.

Bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad and fielding coach, Robin Singh, will also continue in their existing roles.

Board secretary Niranjan Shah, who is here to attend a meeting of the BCCI office-bearers, said that a formal announcement would be made in a week.

"We will let you know in seven-eight days," Shah told reporters later when asked when a proper announcement on the successor of Greg Chappell would be made.

When told that Shukla has already said that the former left-handed opener had been appointed, Shah said: "Whatever he has said is correct."

Topics : Cricket Gary Kirsten
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