Tag Archives: Kirsten

Team India coach after Gary Kirsten

Gary Kirsten has decided to return to South Africa at the end of the ICC World Cup, 2011. He was the exactly that Indian cricket needed at the time he was appointed. As Ravi Shastri might say, “He was exactly what the doctor ordered!”

When Gary Kirsten took over the controls as coach, India had suffered an embarrassing first-round exit in the 2007 World Cup.

Greg Chappell, the then coach, may have been the right man for a job that was about 10 years ahead of its time. India was not ready for Greg Chappell — “Guru Greg” as he was known in the Indian media — and Greg Chappell wasn’t ready for India. His reign started off with the drafting, declaration and acceptance of a “strategic blueprint for the future of Indian cricket”.

In my view — and I my be in a minority here — that blueprint was about 10 years ahead of its time!

What Greg Chappell started with was visionary. What he had left behind in his wake was a dogs’ breakfast!

Interestingly, MS Dhoni is saying exactly what Guru Greg tried to instill in his players! Today, Dhoni says that it is important to pay more attention to the processes and less on the results/outcomes. That was Guru Greg’s approach too!

However, let it be said that Greg Chappell had indeed left a mess behind; a mess that needed cleaning up. Numerous leaks and counter-leaks had messed up the minds of players. Trust was lost. Systems and processes — the very pillars of Greg Chappell’s method — lay crumpled.

A restoration was required. And soon.

India traveled to Bangladesh with Ravi Shastri as temporary “manager”. India then traveled to England with Chandu Borde as coach/mentor. The choice of Borde was ridiculed by many, including us at i3j3Cricket. We even carried out a satirical piece, called “Ford Gate” on how Chandu Borde may have been selected — remember that Graham Ford was the front runner for the post of Team India coach at that time!

India won in England, Rahul Dravid resigned as captain. India won the ICC World T20 Championship. Anil Kumble was appointed captain of India. India then played Pakistan in a home series. India was just about to embark on a tough tour of Australia. Throughout the year, there were a series of speculations, leaks and counter-leaks on who would be coach of Team India. Yet there were no announcements. Other teams had made their appointments quietly and thoughtfully. Sri Lanka appointed Tom Moody. Pakistan appointed Geoff Lawson. India traveled at India’s pace.

Ultimately, Gary Kirsten was appointed.

And what an appointment it has been. From early-2008 onwards, Gary Kirsten has worked with Anil Kumble and with MS Dhoni to help build a Team India that is strong, resilient and robust. India has slowly climbed to the top of the ICC Test rankings and is close to the top of the ICC ODI rankings.

Now, some three years later, the end of Gary Kirsten’s tenure could be anything from 1 match to 3 matches away.

It is appropriate that we salute a man who has quietly achieved what his predecessor could not do. He brought method to his coaching. He afforded players much rope. The results are there for all to see. Many players have gone on record to say that they owed their recent successes to the coach.

At the end of his tenure, it is likely that Kirsten will take up the job of coaching South Africa (although there is no word on that from anyone) once Corrie van Zyl departs as coach of RSA — Corrie van Zyl also quits the scene after the ICC World Cup 2011.

But what of India?

I hope we do not see another period of dithering uncertainty when a sequence of band aids are applied. I am not aware of the establishment of a BCCI search committee for scouting and sounding out appropriate candidates for cricket’s most prestigious — and risky — post. I am not aware of a job description that lists out the key qualities of an ideal coach. As with anything BCCI, we cannot do anything other than assume that someone is “looking into the matter” somewhere and that “some appropriate modalities” are being “worked out” by the “responsible person”.

If the BCCI wants to draw up a position description (PD) it ought to be easy. The BCCI should copy everything contained in the “Key Attributes and Qualities” section from the CVs of John Wright and Gary Kirsten. They will then have many of the elements of the PD. They would also need to ensure that the PD does not contain any elements that might also be contained in Greg Chappel’s CV! They would then have an optimized PD to work with and they could then look for people who display those characteristics.

It is likely that the search space is small and terribly finite. I can think of a few coaches who might fit the bill. Stephen Fleming and Tom Moody spring to mind immediately.

However, an early indication is that Justin Langer might be coach.

All of the recent attention has been on the World Cup. Soon, the BCCI functionaries will be absorbed in counting the money that flows in as a result of IPL-4. In all of this, my hope this that the BCCI occasionally takes its hands off the till and trains its collective eye on a suitable Team India coach. India has an extremely busy year ahead and needs a smooth transition from Gary Kirsten to the successor.

– Mohan (@mohank on Twitter)

Preview: Sri Lanka vs. India, Third Test

The following article was contributed by CWO.

Sri Lanka (1-1-0) vs. India (1-1-0)
Friday, August 8 2008 – Tuesday, August 12 2008
10:15 local, 04:45 GMT
P Saravanamuttu Stadium, Colombo

It all comes down to this, mono e mono. As much we may analyze the last two Test Matches, Sri Lanka is not the clear-cut favourite to win this 3rd Test. Sri Lanka has a great track record on their home grounds; however, they just lost a Test which at one point looked like the continuation of the first Test at SCC. Sri Lanka needs to get its act together and play to win this series.

Sri Lanka has many things in its favour. To list a few obvious ones:

  • They have the home field advantage.
  • India is without a coach for the rest of the series.
  • Indian middle order has not proven to be any more than a minor inconvenience for the Lankan bowlers.

But this does not mean Sri Lanka has what it takes to win the Test and series.

This game could be Sri Lanka’s for the taking, with the exception of one major factor: the confidence that India now seems to have, and Sri Lanka’s lack there of. The Indian team is hungry for a win. They have just come off a great come-from-behind victory in which one player has seemingly found an answer for the Ajanta Mendis surprise factor. And for once, the whole Team India seems to be jumping on the bandwagon of Anil Kumble cricket (I will post this in more detail another time). India is playing without a coach, which gives Kumble more incentive to step up and play with a lot of fire. Ishant Sharma seems to be getting a grasp of the Sri Lankan pitches, and he did very well extracting bounce from a four day old pitch — and there is no reason why he wouldn’t continue his phenomenal form. The Indian batsmen will have practice and they will concentrate at playing spin from Mendis and reacting to his different variations — especially given that one Team India player has seemingly conquered the surprise.

Sri Lanka will be on their back foot to win this series; the pressure is all on them. They have questions to answer on how to get a good start in the innings. In the last Test, the Sri Lankan openers had partnerships of 4 and 4. This does not bode well for the Sri Lankans. They also have a weak opening bowling attack. The team misses the potency of Lasith Malinga — amply shown by the opening stands (of 167 and 90) between Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir at Galle.

Now for the good news, Ajanta Mendis and Muthiah Muralidharan have taken 34 of the 40 wickets in the first two Tests. This means that as long as the Sri Lankans keep their spin going, they will continue to give themselves their best chance of a win.

India on the other hand has the confidence and quite possibly one of the better bowling attacks to match that of the Sri Lanka’s, giving them a great chance to win this 3rd Test and the series. India will not have to change their second Test game plan too much to win. They will use the track which is suited for spin, and expect the new ball brilliance to continue from their two spearheads, Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan. With a well balanced bowling attack their only question will be around the middle-order stepping up to the plate. Will Sachin Tendulkar finally let go of the pressure of becoming the #1 accumulator of runs in Test cricket? Will Tendulkar play the way he did in Australia? Will Rahul Dravid once again become a “Wall” and frustrate bowlers as he did in the England series last year? Will Sourav Ganguly step out of his cocoon and become the prolific scorer he has been in the past decade? If these questions answer positively for India, then we will witness something special, as India has not won a series in Sri Lanka in 15 years!

At this stage, it is anybody’s series, but India has the upper hand, even if just slightly.

— CWO

News and Views…

There have been a few things happening. So I thought I’d blog a “News and Views” type post.


  • India beat Sri Lanka to enter the finals of the CB Tri-Series. Praveen Kumar broke the back of the Sri Lankan innings through some incisive pace bowling. Sri Lanka never really recovered from there. I have been saying this for quite some time now… and I will say it again! I am not sure why Praveen Kumar should not be a part of every game that India plays. In fact, I’d even say that he is not a bad #3 option too! He has a reputation of hitting big sixes in domestic cricket.
  • After playing the last dead-game in Melbourne, the Australians will take on India at the SCG on Sunday March 2.
  • The latest round of reprimands and fines in cricket in Sydney in the CB series match between Australia and India has received due coverage in Australia. Contrast the approach of The Age (Jamie Pandaram) and The Australian (Peter Lalor). The latter opinion piece does not even mention that Ricky Ponting was fined in the same match for slow over rates!
  • Peter Lalor goes one step further today by suggesting that Ishant Sharma gave Saint Andrew Symonds a “foul mouthed spray”. Ishant Sharma copped a fine and in my view, that was fair enough. Did poor Saint Andrew Symonds deserve a spray for saying “Well bowled champ”? Oh no way!
  • Unfortunately, instead of saying that the Indians will not indulge in sledging and instead of saying that the Indians will work hard on learning how not to be affected by foul-mouthed hoons, its ODI captain has instead said, “It’s an art and [the Australians] are good at it, but the Indians will learn soon.” Pray why?
  • The BCCI, it seems, has had enough of all this nonsense and wants to empower on-field umpires to come down hard on sledging. It is not often that I agree with anything that the BCCI mandarins say, but on this one, I am on their side! I reckon on-field umpires should be given a yellow, green and red card. A Yellow Card is a first warning to a player in the match. A Green Card would mean that the player is out of the game for half hour. A Red Card would mean that the player sits out the rest of the match! The umpires decision is final. Period. That’s one way to stamp out all this on-field nonsense.
  • In his match report on the India v Sri Lanka match in Hobart, Peter Lalor says, “No, it was all very pleasant when India played Sri Lanka. More a neighbourhood social than an international match.” Wonder why? The team of All Saints was busy dressing up for the Allan Border Medal night. And when they were not busy dressing up, they were busy frothing on Radio!
  • Yes, just when you thought things were going along swimmingly, Saint Matthew Hayden jumped in, head, foot and arms flailing and called Harbhajan Singh an “obnoxious weed”. How nice now! I would be surprised if Cricket Australia do not tape the big Queenslander’s mouth. If he worked in my organisation, I know what I would do. I do not know what sort of weed the big Queenslander has been smoking lately, but it is clearly having an effect on him!
  • The Indians think Matthew Hayden called Harbhajan Singh a “mad boy” in the Sydney match. So what if he did? But the big opening batsman from Queensland said, he called him a “bad boy”. Ooooh ooooh! Baddy Baddy Bad Boy! Phew, that makes it alright then! The “bad boy” tag — rather than the “mad boy” yelp — becomes even more acceptable to Hayden because he thought in his own simple mind that Harbhajan Singh should be flattered. But of course! Duh! “Bad Doy” is “a clothing range is it not? What the…..?
  • Did these guys go to school at all? Not that they have to, mind you. Clearly, some of them haven’t left the school yard where most people leave all of this puerile nonsense.
  • Read a transcript of Saint Matthew Hayden’s eloquent interview here. I am shocked that Cricket Australia are sitting on their fingers after this blatantly disrespectful interview. I thought the Australian way was to leave all the verbal nonsense on the field!
  • The Australians apparently got really upset with Harbhajan Singh after the Indian spinner reportedly subjected Australian skipper Ricky Ponting “to non-stop abuse” in the Adelaide match. Oh poor thing! That’s not fair, is it mommy? Get him a nappy… quick! Talking of nappies, Ricky Ponting is expecting one… Not a nappy… a baby!
  • Meanwhile Saint Pontiff Matthew Hayden has taken it upon himself to provide advise to young Ishant Sharma on on-field behaviour! Saint Pontiff Matthew Hayden said, “He is just young. I have said to him many times, you are 19, take it easy. At the end of the day you are 19, why don’t you just worry about your bowling for a while.”! Wonder why, at 37, Hayden does not follow his own advice? Things that make you go WTF…
  • So now Ishant Sharma needs advice too. Hmmm! Let’s not forget that this was the young lad that shook Andrew Symonds’ hand in Sydney in that infamous Test match. What advice is he going to receive from Saint Matthew Hayden — halo and all — on appropriate on-field behaviour?
  • India take on New Zealand in the U19 semi-final game in Malaysia.
  • Gary Kirsten has arrived in India to take up his responsibilities as Team India Coach. Anil Kumble and he met with BCCI officials. This is in preparation for India’s Test series against South Africa, who will play three Tests against India in India, at Chennai (March 26-30), Ahmedabad (April 3-7) and Kanpur (April 11-15).
  • One of Gary Kirsten’s immediate tasks will be the appointment of a team physio — John Gloster will quit his position at the end of the ongoing CB Series. Kirsten also appears keen to recruit his long-term business associate and mental skills coach Paddy Upton on a permanent basis! Perhaps Upton could teach the team to learn how to ignore (rather than retaliate well to) the Saints from the opposition team.

— Mohan

Kirsten, the new coach?

Gary Kirsten has been offered the job to coach Team India. The duration of his tenure is likely to be 2 years, and that is unlikely to extend based on what he has said –

Although I’ve always wanted to coach a team at some point, I always said I wouldn’t do it when (son) Joshua was at big school. He’s only four now so that gives me two years

Niranjan Shah, the board secretary had earlier said that there were 22 applicants for the coach’s job and that no candidate from outside the applicant list would be picked. While talking to the press, Kirsten has said that BCCI had approached him for the job and it was not the other way round – which makes me wonder if he was originally in the list of 22 candidates. Wouldn’t come as a surprise if he wasn’t. Notable candidates in the list include Martin Crowe and Kepler Wessels.

Although Kirsten is still mulling over the decision, reports indicate that he is very likely to say Yes. BCCI must have learnt something from the Fordgate episode, as this time around the interview selection process was done without much hype – although the announcement of the selection could have been made after Kirsten had accepted the offer.

I have to admit that I am not too thrilled with Kirsten as a coach – probably because I am not too sure of what he can bring to the team. I would have gone with someone like Martin Crowe. But hey, the coach selection panel know better, right?

I do, however, hope Kirsten turns out to be a good coach. Here are the positives that I can see in Kirsten –

  • He has good test experience having played over 100 tests
  • Has a bit of coaching experience and he is an overseas coach
  • Being a young coach  (he is only 40 years of age), he would have modern ideas
  • His personality [I could be completely wrong here] seems to be more in the mould of John Wright than Greg Chappell

Whatever the case, I hope people who’ve been offered the job don’t watch the television documentary “Guru Greg” – that is bound to put them off from taking up the job…

-Mahesh-