Low-profile coach Kirsten gets rewards

Low-profile coach Gary Kirsten’s methods of ensuring a high

success rate have won him many fans within the Indian team.

The likes of captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar and

Gautam Gambhir have acknowledged his role in instilling a team

spirit and work ethic that has seen India become the world’s top

test side and number two in one-dayers.

Kirsten took over at a time of flux a little over three years

ago and transformed a talented group into a champion side.

He is known to have eased insecurities and taken India to a

stage where it is a favorite at this World Cup.

While Indians cross their fingers that Tendulkar will finally

win a World Cup, Kirsten will also be aiming to sign off in

style.

”I have enjoyed my game under him,” Tendulkar said recently,

when asked about Kirsten, against whom he played several

international matches. ”He is really putting in a lot of

effort.”

Kirsten can be seen throwing the ball at the nets at batsmen,

either ironing out weaknesses or preparing them to face particular

types of bowling.

He enjoys a good rapport with players, in contrast to his

predecessor Greg Chappell of Australia.

In fact, Kirsten is known to have spoken to senior players

before taking up the job and maintained a persona similar to that

of Kiwi John Wright, who was the coach when India played in the

final of the 2003 World Cup.

When Kirsten took over, an experienced Indian team had been

knocked out early from the 2007 World Cup, but a Dhoni-led India

side had won the Twenty20 World Championship.

One of his challenges was to ensure a good rapport among the

senior and junior players.

Dhoni says Kirsten is the best thing to happen to Indian cricket

in recent years.

”He has given the Indian team whatever he could, the best he

could, and of course it was a pleasure to have him in the side,”

said Dhoni.

India’s rise has been largely because of winning abroad during

Kirsten’s stint, the most recent being a creditable drawn series in

South Africa.

”Gary is the best coach that India has ever had,” Gambhir said

recently. ”I have often said that and I keep on stressing that we

need Gary.”

Gambhir, also a left-handed top-order batsman like Kirsten, has

blossomed in this period.

”I don’t need to speak much about him. His fabulous record

speaks for itself. He has been a great man-manager,” said Gambhir,

adding that he would want Kirsten retained after his contract ends

this World Cup.

But sadly for the team, Kirsten has informed the Indian board

that he does not want to continue after this World Cup because of

family commitments.