Kirsten has been a father figure, says Raina

Updated: 04 April 2011 16:00 IST

Just as Gary Kirsten strutted on to the pitch after India's historic win at the Wankhede Stadium, Suresh Raina came rushing from behind and carried Kirsten on his shoulder for a lap of honour.

Kirsten has been a father figure, says Raina
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Mumbai:

Just as Gary Kirsten strutted on to the pitch after India's historic win at the Wankhede Stadium, Suresh Raina came rushing from behind and carried Kirsten on his shoulder for a lap of honour.

It seemed as if the South African was a six-year-old boy who had just seen his father win a medal. It was difficult to tell who was the pupil, and who the tutor.

Raina has been Kirsten's biggest admirer, claiming that the South African was the best thing to happen to Indian cricket since Sachin Tendulkar, during a chat with MiD DAY a week prior to the World Cup.

None would miss Kirsten's presence in the dressing room more than Raina, who had organised a special farewell gift for his guru.

"I am going to miss him dearly. He has been a father figure, a coach, a friend, and a teammate. His departure would leave a big hole in the dressing room," an emotional Raina said.

"We organised a big party for him after the win, it was dedicated to both him and Sachin. It was a big family gathering.

"I will miss Kirsten because he is someone who respects your thoughts and privacy. The most important thing is the way he communicated with us. He never tried to impose anything. "Gary has been more than just a coach to me. I want to dedicate this World Cup win to Sachin and Gary. My only aim is to keep in mind everything he has taught me."

Kirsten is scheduled to return to South Africa on Thursday. Sources within the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) indicated that the hunt for the next coach had already begun.

Topics : Suresh Raina ICC World Cup, 2011 Gary Kirsten India Cricket
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