Former India coach and South African legend Gary Kirsten turned 50 on Thursday and wishes poured on Twitter from former and current cricketers alike. Legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar posted a special message for Kirsten, who led the Indian team to a World Cup triumph in 2011. "We've had some good laughs over the years, @Gary_Kirsten. You've been a fantastic coach who has inspired and supported us when we needed it most. More importantly, you've been a good friend. #HappyBirthday", he posted on his official account.
We've had some good laughs over the years, @Gary_Kirsten. You've been a fantastic coach who has inspired and supported us when we needed it most. More importantly, you've been a good friend. #HappyBirthday pic.twitter.com/MNjU2nwxPo— sachin tendulkar (@sachin_rt) November 23, 2017
Kirsten was coach of the Indian team from March, 2008 till the end of the ICC World Cup 2011, which India won.
Cricketer Suresh Raina also joined the list of well-wishers as he extended birthday greetings to Kirsten.
"Happy birthday @Gary_Kirsten, you weren't just a gritty opening batsman but also a truly inspiring coach and someone who helped achieve every Indian's dream come true too!" Raina captioned on Twitter.
7,289 Test runs, 6,798 ODI runs. 34 international centuries.— ICC (@ICC) November 23, 2017
Top score of 275 in Tests, 188* in ODIs.
A @cricketworldcup winning coach with India in 2011.
Happy Birthday to South Africa legend @Gary_Kirsten! pic.twitter.com/px0x5cK9K1
Kirsten's record as a batsman for the Proteas has been phenomenal. He has 7,289 Test runs, 6,798 ODI runs and 34 international centuries to his name. He also boasts of an impressive unbeaten 188 in the 1996 World Cup match against the UAE.
His 275 against England in 1999 at Durban is the highest individual score by any player on South African soil in Test cricket. He went past Graeme Pollock's 274 at the same venue against Australia in 1970. Kirsten's batting average of 67.93 runs in ODI finals is the highest among the ten players with 1000 and more runs.
Kirsten made his Test debut in 1993 against Australia while his ODI debut came against Australia in the same year.