India news December 15, 2010

Family may keep Kirsten from renewing contract - Dhoni

MS Dhoni has said that the distance from his family might prevent Gary Kirsten, India's coach, from renewing his contract once it runs out after the 2011 World Cup. "Of course," Dhoni said when asked if India were trying to do everything within their powers to make Kirsten stay. "But what you also need to see is he has been part of the Indian cricket team for the last three years. His family - Joshua is a growing kid right now and James is a young kid too [both Kirsten's sons] - which means Gary wants to spend time with his family. That will be the most crucial thing apart from the money aspect.

"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, but then again it is a decision he will have to take. More than the cricketing part, it will be his family that will have a real impact on the decision."

Dhoni said there haven't yet been discussions with Kirsten about extending his contract because the team is focused on the South Africa tour and the World Cup. "It's a discussion that will take place. We will wait for the right time. After this series we have the World Cup coming, which means he still has close to two, two-and-a-half months with us. We will try to get the most out of him, but at the same time, as I always say, it will be a pleasure to have him for another three years."

Dhoni reiterated Kirsten's value to the team over the course of his tenure as coach. "I have always said that he is one of the greatest things to have happened to Indian cricket apart from the talented cricketers we have got. Throughout he has been away from the media, he just concentrates on the work he needs to do. We have had a great time under him. It is an advantage to have him in the side."

Kirsten joined India after the acrimonious tour of Australia in 2007-08, and under him India have completed their ascent to No. 1 Test ranking, lost just one Test series, and are going into the World Cup as one of the favourites. His behind-the-scenes-yet-hands-on style has been appreciated by the Indian players, who have taken every opportunity to thank him.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo