Mark Nicholas
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Former Hampshire batsman; host of Channel 9's cricket coverage

England v SA, 3rd Investec Test, Lord's, 5th day

Kirsten does it again

After Test and World Cup success with India, Gary Kirsten has now led his native country to No. 1

Mark Nicholas at Lord's

August 20, 2012

Comments: 69 | Text size: A | A

South Africa soak up the glory after their Lord's victory, England v South Africa, 3rd Investec Test, Lord's, 5th day, August 20, 2012
As South Africa's players celebrated, their coach Gary Kirsten was looking on proudly © Getty Images
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When India won the World Cup in Mumbai a year ago last April, one man stood quietly in the shadow of the celebrations - modest, unassuming, satisfied. His part in the triumph was immense, his need for recognition nowhere in sight. Gary Kirsten was an excellent opening batsman for South Africa. Less naturally gifted than his illustrious elder brother, Peter - who was mainly denied by the apartheid years - Kirsten the Younger went about his business with an eye for detail and an uncomplicated application. He sold his wicket dearly and the South Africans loved him for it.

When he became coach of the India team, he brought the gift of serenity. Great cricketers, constantly on edge from the expectation of their people, were encouraged to breathe, to smell the flowers along the way. First interviewed during the crazy minutes that followed MS Dhoni's winning strike was Sachin Tendulkar. Amongst others, Tendulkar spoke warmly of Kirsten's contribution. Next thing Gary knew he was lifted upon the shoulders of the Indian players and paraded to the adoring masses.

Late this afternoon, while the South Africa team collected their winning medals from the suits on the podium at Lord's, Kirsten could just about be seen in the small walkway that divides the Pavillion and the Allen Stand. He watched proudly but detached. The players do the yards, the players get the prizes. On the evidence of the past month, South Africa are the undisputed Test match champions of the world. When Kirsten switched horses, returning home after the World Cup and waiting only a short while before taking the South Africa job, he moved from a team slipping over the hill to one still climbing it. A wise bird indeed. One appointed by wise men, for Kirsten knows how to get the job done.

For much of the long, enthralling final afternoon of the series he will have winced. Ye gods, England ran it close. Free to play without fear of defeat, the middle-order batted with striking purpose. First Jonny Bairstow, whose X-factor is worth the admission money, and then Matt Prior, who darn nearly played the innings of his life. The longer Graeme Smith persevered with Imran Tahir and tactic of buying wickets with the old ball, the more the impossible became reality. Had Graeme Swann not been run out, England were a few blows away from becoming favourites.

But Smith did persevere with Tahir, which is exactly what the Smith of bygone years would not have done. He would have run for cover, turned to the trusted, rotated the seamers, set the field back, instructed wider bowling and so on and so forth. Not now, not the Smith of today. With time and through battle, comes maturity. Once he thought himself bullet proof, now he knows they hurt. Thus he has listened, a skill in itself and allowed his imagination to take him places he has not been before.

That choker tag is a damn thing to live with. India's World Cup was one that South Africa fancied but Kirsten was doing for the Indian cricketers what the South Africans needed for themselves. He was taking the pressure off. He was encouraging them to play less desperately: to relax head, neck, shoulders, hands and to perform from instinct and passion. He was saying, it is all right to be who you are as long as you are just that and not a pale, self-serving imitation. Trust each other and take responsibility, said Kirsten. Be calm, he added, because no heated situation was ever won by frantic response.

So Smith persevered with Tahir while England took the risks required to save the series. Just as Smith places more slips, and for longer periods, while South Africa attack the off-stump more than a fourth and fifth stump. Just as Smith posts leg-gullies and fly-slips. And just as Smith surprised with his declaration at Headingley, sensing victory when others saw only parity.

It is for Smith that one feels most pleased. I have this image of him walking to the wicket in Sydney three and a half years ago, broken hand bandaged, to try and save the Test. The ground stood to him before a ball was faced one-handed. Imagine that, Sydneysiders applauding a Saffer for his courage. That match was ultimately conceded but his team have not lost a series away from home since 2006. In the modern age of fly, sleep, play that is something to behold.

 
 
"Vernon Philander was an integral part of the one of the best fast-bowling attacks the game has known. His arrival in the team coincided with Kirsten's. No coincidence then"
 

The South Africans were not favourites when this series in England began and they only fiddled with practice amidst the soaking mid-summer. Rather than commit to another county game or two, they took the risk of a hardcore four-day mind game in the Swiss Alps. I'll bet Kirsten was behind this and Smith not far away. Mike Horn, the extreme explorer, took them to the corners of brain and body. He told them, don't think you can do it; it is a fact, he said, that you can do it. He helped to break down the mental boundaries that haunt sportsmen and in doing so, set up the 600 total at The Oval.

After an indifferent first day of the series with the ball, it appeared a mistake had been made and that the team were short of cricket. On the second day they looked full of it, by the third their cup was overflowing. Hashim Amla looked as if he could have gone on forever and, in the first match at the The Oval, South Africa did telling and lasting damage to England's self-belief.

Of course, the raw material is important. High-quality cricketers respond to a platform. Set them up, they will do the knocking over. Have you ever seen a man start a Test career like Vernon Philander? Ten months ago, it was "Who the devil is Vernon?" Well, now we know. An integral part of the one of the best fast-bowling attacks the game has known - balanced, smart, potent, accurate. His arrival in the team coincided with Kirsten's. No coincidence then.

What else has Gary Kirsten done for them? Well, Jacques Kallis. That's Jacques the bowler mainly and Jacques the batsman a bit. The finest all-round cricketer of the age - right up there in any age - was showing signs of wear. Kirsten re-fitted him, suggesting pace and variety were enviable gifts and that in shorter, sharper bursts he could bring them back. Kallis the striker, not Kallis the foil, was reborn. And with bat in hand? Kirsten must simply have said, "Show off, matey. You might as well. You're that good and it doesn't last forever, this crease life. Loosen up a bit and have some fun, Jacques."

Think of the party tonight. He will have some fun there. Nearly as much fun as his captain. Imagine it, 94 Tests in charge - more than any man ever - and now this. Wow, we might not see either of them for a day or two yet.

Mark Nicholas, the former Hampshire captain, presents the cricket on Channel 9 in Australia and Channel 5 in the UK

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Posted by SuperSharky on (August 23, 2012, 8:42 GMT)

It just that I love Mark Nicholas articles. He's got a talented eye that is spotting talent. A Great Cricket reviewer !!!! And yes, Gary Kirsten is a good coach. He learned from the best; Bob Woolmer & Hansie Cronje.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2012, 11:32 GMT)

What this article misses so pointedly, is the moulded effect of the bowling attack, and no mention of Alan Donald at all! AD, was responsible for Morne Morkel taking the new ball against England and for Dale Steyn-the world's best bowler for some time now-to come on first change. I'm surprised, that Nicolas, a former Hampshire County Captain, would miss commenting on this, but then again, praise is focused on the 'self effacing and reserve'- traits of English psyche - of Kirsten [who just happens to be more introvert than extrovert, for that matter] and so the 'nuts and bolts' of Alan Donald have been totally overlooked. So focused is Mark Nicholas on trying to find traits resembling 'English qualities' that he negates the disparate qualities of extrovert confidence, which is AD. Embrace difference, like the French do, always measuring others by 'English benchmarks' is stale, and akin to lauding the boring batting of Strauss/Cook/Trott , as say, versus the flamboyant KP!

Posted by vertical on (August 22, 2012, 8:17 GMT)

The same hype was created for Dav Whatmore after his Sri lankan success,but he was unable to turn around the fortunes of Bangladesh and now Pakistan.Australia in it's heydays 99-07 would have won regardless of their coach their team was so strong.India were doing well even before Gary Kirsten joined when they won the t20 world cup and were doing well in tests.If he is able to get the saffers the t20 world cup or champions trophy something which has eluded them then we are talking ,lets see.

Posted by Srish85 on (August 22, 2012, 5:58 GMT)

It would be nice if Gary takes up his next assignment with West Indies Cricket and make it stronger like they used to be before so that test cricket or cricket in general will be even more competitive.

Posted by Marktc on (August 22, 2012, 5:29 GMT)

Gary deserves all the credit he gets, as do the players...SA are deserved number ones in the world. I think it is SA, then Oz and then England/India. Hope SA remain on top for a decent period \.

Posted by Rally_Windies on (August 22, 2012, 0:28 GMT)

Gary ...... would you consider coaching the WI ?

would they need to triple or quadruple what ECB is paying you?

don't worry, the "cash strapped" WICB can afford it ... the salaries and bonuses of any one board member can easily cover such a salary ...

(not that players will ever see that kind of money .. and will be penalized for wanting to play in 20/20 tournies to earn some dough )

Posted by torsha on (August 21, 2012, 23:39 GMT)

Gary come back to India..hehe

Posted by shillingsworth on (August 21, 2012, 22:27 GMT)

Whilst the article does allude to the rather obvious fact that it is the players' triumph, it nevertheless falls into the easy trap of uncritical coach worship. Some of the comments are just daft. There's little similarity between the role of a cricket and football coach, Kirsten isn't a 'special one' and the idea that he warrants more credit than the players is ridiculous. @RogerC - you've got it spot on, last year it was Flower, this year it's Kirsten, next year it will no doubt be someone else.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 19:33 GMT)

Great Article .....Surely it was Kirsten who took same Indian team didn't qualify for Quarter final stage of WC 2007 to becoming top test side & WC winning team despite having nearly same set of players as were there for WC 2011.........& people falsely give credit to Dhoni who did nothing worthwhile except 90 in WC finals...............The same Dhoni is continuing as captain but Ind is losing terribly............Kirsten has achieved 1st goal that is making SA No1 in Tests & he will achieve his 2nd goal taht is WC 2015 this time no one can stop SA from becoming World Champion 2015....A GREAT LEADER KIRSTEN......I also like the statement "When Kirsten switched horses, returning home after the World Cup and waiting only a short while before taking the South Africa job, he moved from a team slipping over the hill to one still climbing it. A wise bird indeed." .........

Posted by Arrow011 on (August 21, 2012, 19:25 GMT)

Kirsten deserves more credit than the South african players, he is their talisman.

Posted by spiritwithin on (August 21, 2012, 16:54 GMT)

we indians love Gary,our loss was SA's gain but anyway that was forthcoming,SA is the team to beat with their allround team...wish Gary Kirsten and his team all the luck

Posted by indianzen on (August 21, 2012, 16:42 GMT)

Dear Gary, if you are reading this... please accept my hugs for 2 things you have contributed - 1. My fav ODI team - India lifting WC this time and 2. my fav Test team - South Africa getting the No1 Test team spot... u have become the darling of masses...

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 16:31 GMT)

Gary is calm, clever and believe that hard work will eventually overcome hard luck. He knows how to tackle and motivate big stars like Sachin, MS,Kallis etc and keep the strategy uncluttered.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 16:02 GMT)

hei gary u have earned a lot of respect for yourself, am happy for u.I have always noticed SA becomes a bit overconfident when they win a lot of matches and lose hold on the situation,do not let that happen mate.congrats man.beware of india though haha haha joking.

Posted by jasonpete on (August 21, 2012, 14:18 GMT)

Posted by Pras_Punter on (August 21 2012, 08:13 AM GMT), so winning world cup at home indirectly implies to "pressure from various quarters" ? you meant to say Australia losing to India in QF also somewhat dodgy? I am no Indian but putting your flawed fictional theory is not acceptable.By the way, they reached no.1 in test ranking under coach Gary Kirsten in 2009 and now he took SA to no.1 as well.They played good and won world cup, just how aus won three in a row.

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 21, 2012, 13:20 GMT)

Mark, what happened to Fortress England? Smith has put another English captain (the 3rd) to the sword.

Posted by ARIF3011 on (August 21, 2012, 11:24 GMT)

With Gary also gone good luck of Team India to Team SA and now they are world no. 1 Test Team. Interestingly, with Duncan, in came the bad luck of Team England to Team India. While England started doing well without Duncan, India started sliding down the hill. Coincidence?

Posted by RogerC on (August 21, 2012, 11:07 GMT)

People wrote similar things about Andy Flower last year.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

Gary is indeed a special person, but spare a thought for his team - Paddy Upton, etal. Coaching, like cricket, is a team game! There are many proud South Africans walking around today!!! Well done guys.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 10:04 GMT)

@Pras_Punter: And now aussies who were trashed in QFs complain abt foul play. Funny..!!

Posted by TsoroM on (August 21, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

Gary Kirsten is truly quite something. You can almost sense his calm just watching him on screen, it's like he's saying to himself, "I've done my part and am certain this boys will do theirs" and guess what those boys really do come to the party and play their part. Hashim Amla raised his hand in the 1st and last tests of this series, Smith a century and 2 half centuries in the series, Kallis a magnificent 100 as well and other contributions, with the ball (bowling and fielding). I can go on and on here, but what you see is that every single one of these lads is ready to raise his hand and take the responsibility at any time. Every is hungry for runs, for wickets and they are putting the yards to get them... Salute Gary Kirsten! Salute South Africa!

Posted by arup_g on (August 21, 2012, 9:38 GMT)

How badly do India miss Gary Kirsten? Since he left for South Africa, India have dropped off the number 1 mantle piece, to be replaced where Gary is currently! Gary is any teams dream coach - relaxed, committed, reserved but most importantly very very intelligent. He understands the game inside out, and has a fantastic way of understanding players and their personalities. He is the great analyst of the modern day and will take South Africa to levels never reached. You would expect, that under Gary, they will certainly be pushing or World T20 glory next month, and will have built a fantastic team for the 2015 WC.

Posted by ac_Indian on (August 21, 2012, 8:36 GMT)

Congratulations Gary.....

Posted by PrasPunter on (August 21, 2012, 8:13 GMT)

wc 2011 would have been won anyway due to pressure from "various" quarters. No surprises !! This is the real achievement for Gary !! Well done !!

Posted by Naresh28 on (August 21, 2012, 8:12 GMT)

OKAY guys Eng,Oz and Indian fans no use bashing each other. SA are the tops due to hard work - yes Kirsten is good and always keeps in the background. A good coach indeed. In cricket no team is NO1 there are always teams that perform better on the day. England were just as good yesterday, maybe Pieterson's exclusion was missing. Eng could have won but SA were not going to let go of their advantage. At the moment it looks like SA, Eng and Oz - these are the teams that are playing really good cricket. As an Ind fan I feel that India should wake up least they lose their home records soon as well.

Posted by cric_fan_ on (August 21, 2012, 7:26 GMT)

what Mark, not a word about Strauss' new Australians or fortress England, did the new Australians leave for Australia once the fortress crumbled?

Posted by ATIMAYANK on (August 21, 2012, 7:09 GMT)

Only Saffers are the deserving world number one! Salute to Gary Kirsten.

Posted by ATIMAYANK on (August 21, 2012, 7:08 GMT)

@ Alexk400 England dint do an India? Pretty right coz they lost right in their backyard, something India hasnt done. And god knows how pathetically will england perform once they step out of England or Australia. They will be thrashed and beaten comprehensively even in Bangladesh.

Posted by cheeseburgers on (August 21, 2012, 6:34 GMT)

kirsten is indeed "The Special One" - Jose Mourinho of Cricket

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 6:17 GMT)

I knew SA will be No 1 Test side as soon as I heard Kristen would be their new coach. I think he a great thinker of the game of cricket. I have huge admiration for him. I think SA is going to lift the next 50 over cricket world cup in Australia.

Posted by OhPakistan on (August 21, 2012, 6:16 GMT)

Surely, South Africa and England are the top two sides at present in all forms of cricket. I think "inform Amla" was the difference ! Presence of Amla has brought stability and confidence to South African side and his contributions were pivotal to S.A. success.

Posted by DirkL on (August 21, 2012, 6:15 GMT)

@HusseyFan: no chance of England getting Kirsten. Among Kirsten's many strengths is that he picks a team that can be made to win, and that's not England right now. England needs to rebuild, bring in the next generation. Onions and Finn with the new ball. Anderson down to first change. Bye-bye both Andys, you did well in the past but Andy-battter is history and Andy-coach handles the team as if it is a squad of Selous scouts. Keep Broady only in if you are willing to bat him at #7 as the team's all-rounder. Move Prior up the order, he's the most reliable bat. And for heavens sake confiscate KP's mobile if you must, but if you are dealt a joker you've got to build your hand around it. Accept that 2012-2013 will be a dip. Go for being good again in two years' time.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 6:15 GMT)

Congratulations SA and Gary Kirsten. Well Deserved. I hope my team India rebounds!

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 5:53 GMT)

Excellent article Mark. Imaginative and fascinating observations and gracious to put the spotlight on Gary Kirsten (it is probably the last thing he would do himself). What a great representative he has been for his country. Wonderful to see the Indian fans honoring him as well - it seems they treated him as one of their own which is something very special.

Posted by gullycover on (August 21, 2012, 5:41 GMT)

Well played South Africa. Congratulations for becoming the no. 1 Test side. This South African side does seem like a well rounded side with all the bases covered. Those who are saying that they are lacking a top class spinner are certainly not paying attention. The way Imran Tahir bowled today with poised and control was extremely admiring. He bowled beautifully though the bloke was unlucky as the ball landed in no man's land a few times and that stumping debacle against Prior. Prior was clearly out of his crease but thanks to the biased 3rd umpire, this decision also went against South Africa just like the 1st inning's dismissal of Kallis. Prior got 2 life's but still he couldn't take his side to victory. What a shame.

Posted by eddie_1 on (August 21, 2012, 5:15 GMT)

If he can coach India to World Cup Victory, coaching SA to #1 position must be walk in the park for him. You know how difficult our people are. He must have figured out how to do the job in India without treading on people's toes and hurting feelings and the whole 9 yards. i.e. He even figured out the cultural context in India. That is how good he is.

Posted by yoogi on (August 21, 2012, 4:39 GMT)

Kristen is the man, ofcourse. Its not that SA was raising, they were stagnated at no2 spot for almost ever. Also not that india was falling, but were peaked already.

You just look at Indias tour of SA before world-cup and Indias tour of England after World cup. The only man missing was Kristen (yeah, zakir as well) and his preperation methods. You also need players well rested and have time to prepare for any opponent.At some point india might even go to world cup straight after a four month IPL. SA well and truly deserve Kristen and the no 1 status.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 4:36 GMT)

#1--------when did people start with this?i remember there would be no chatter about it when steve waugh's australia steam rolled o'er everyone.with all the fuss and song and dance,one can easily tell,there's no clear winner of that title.it's a period of uncertainity and churning o'er in international cricket,what with australia rebuilding,india testing young guns with the exit of it's two veterans and the shelving of it's leading spinner,the english trying to sustain the good run and momentum they built o'er the last summer and the year before.it's a state of transition,and is bound to throw up several winners.wouldn't be surprised if india pulled it back o'er their next season.

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (August 21, 2012, 4:36 GMT)

we love Kristan! India's lost, SA's gain.

Posted by sharidas on (August 21, 2012, 4:34 GMT)

As an Indian, I have great admiration for Gary Kirsten. Very unassuming, he lets his actions do all the talk.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (August 21, 2012, 4:18 GMT)

My heartiest congratulations to Gary Kirsten and Graeme Smith for having taken South Africa to the top with a convincing 2-0 victory whatever anyone might say of England'd last minute fightback. They had no option really but to go for broke. Steyn and Morkel probably got under pressure. But Philander finally came good in England. I hope the Saffers are able to hold onto their position longer than England did.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 4:18 GMT)

Just one thing if the author has purposely neglected to praise Kristen that South Africa hasnt lost a away series from 2006, thats way back before Kristen became the coach there, in 2011. Both India and South Africa are very good teams, so we just want him to guide teams like New Zealand/West Indies to see how much he is capable of, otherwise I tend to believe that the success of India or South Africa are mainly due to success of their players.

Posted by Sehwag_Is_A_Flat_Track_Bully on (August 21, 2012, 3:57 GMT)

Gary Kirsten is overrated. It's the players that have to apply themselves in the end. When you have players like Smith, Kallis, Philander, Steyn, Amla, Morne, de Villiers, Tendulkar, Sehwag, Dravid, Laxman, Zaheer, Harbhajan all with impressive records and skills, who can't get a team to become number one? As far as Kirsten and India are concerned, he came at the right time and left at the right time for his own benefit. I would have loved to see the result if Kirsten was still there during the England and Australia tour where India got thrashed 8-0.

Posted by East_West on (August 21, 2012, 3:32 GMT)

Excellent writeup Mr Nicholas, not flowery and to the point. Gary is the best in the business, and you said it right "He watched proudly but detached", he knows to chip in and went to back off! South Africa congrats! you folks deserve it! Similar conditions and INDIA was thrashed whereas Amla and others showed their true class! I am a fan of India but India never had a spine - in England or Australia, we just surrendered meekly without a fight! whereas England fought to the end! so I can say Congrats to England as well! you are way better than INDIA whereas SA is the best in the world, if SA can win in Australia, wow! that can be the icing on the cake! Hello Indian cricketers, please learn from SA - how to win and learn from England - how to fight till the end! Kudos to both teams for an exciting Test series! who said Tests are NOT FUN to watch! thanks again sir Mr Nicholos for a wonderful piece!

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 3:29 GMT)

kudos to SA to realize the Dream. Beautiful Piece of Article from Mark Nichols. Indian selectors should learn about this kind of strategies. Need to mix young members along with experienced players. kesav koundinya

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 3:25 GMT)

Kirsten is the man. He was the most important member of Team India. Not Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman or Sehwag.

Posted by xylo on (August 21, 2012, 3:00 GMT)

Congratulations to Kirsten, and in the moment of success, let us not lose perspective as well. IMHO, Kirsten is to be held accountable as much as the selectors for being short-sighted with the Indian test team, and not phasing out the seniors and easing in the younger crop. As one can see, Kirsten's tenure ended in 2012, and Srikanth and co's ends in 2013, and nobody is bothered about Sachin playing in ODIs without a clear roadmap for the team.

Posted by AjaySridharan on (August 21, 2012, 2:48 GMT)

Great article. Congratulations South Africa...at last earning your deserved place at the top of the heap! Gary Kirsten is a Godsend.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 2:36 GMT)

My only wish left is that Kallis will get to 300 wkts! He will be untouchable then......

Posted by Romenevans on (August 21, 2012, 2:22 GMT)

If there is an award for the BEST COACH EVER, it straight away goes to Kirsten. Wow what a coach and a what a nice person to have in your team setup! Amazing. Thanks Gary for what you did for India and now making my 2nd favorite time the No.1. I know your next goal would be to make SA win the 2015 WC in Australia.

Posted by kharidra on (August 21, 2012, 2:18 GMT)

To win - the war - winning battles is the strategy. Winning the crucial moments, Winning the sessions that matter and then not the least the awareness that being a winner is a fact and not something that remains in thought process. It is this kind of winning formula that evolves out of well experienced strategists. The formula is about creating the instinct of a winner. That instinct repairs the moments of choke to see the end of a tunnel.

Posted by Alexk400 on (August 21, 2012, 1:58 GMT)

England supporters should be happy because i saw england fighting...i thought SA gona choke that will be end of this SA team....fortunately peter kirsten luck favored the SA. England did n't do india , they fought hard. That said england still good but Broad did n't have fitness or mental or something missing ..he was bowling slow...I think if a team has one weakness it pull whole team. I still think what england need one all star PACE all rounder like botham quality. Broad is neither, he is similar to pathan. Every team play well in their own conditions. its because crowd energy helps home team along with weather and pitch conditions and food and familarity.

I think strauss should continue as long as he contribute...he is best captain until some one new comes along...cook can but i rather let him concentrate on scoring runs.

Posted by bharath74 on (August 21, 2012, 1:34 GMT)

Probably the best coach ever!!!!

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (August 21, 2012, 1:30 GMT)

Gary Kristen is an awesome coach. He helped India to lift the WC and now SA is #1 test team in the world. I thought AB devliers is anti chock but it's Gary who is anti chock. It was one of the best test match series of all time. Gary won it.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 1:11 GMT)

vry wl done sa and gary

Posted by couchpundit on (August 21, 2012, 0:44 GMT)

Unlike England, gary will have the SAFers grounded. I am pretty sure SAF will rule test and in all form of cricket as long as Kirsten is the coach. He surely has midas touch, India won T20 and ODI world cups and stayed as No.1 Test Team during his tenure.

Unlike England and India SAF has reached No.1 Spot playing outside their country, which is commendable.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 0:18 GMT)

This piece did give me goosebumps .. for the poetry, heck! even the hyperbole. Gary Kirsten earns it again, this time for South Africa. We've savored his contribution to India, and god knows South Africa have needed a man like this...........but what an expression, one of the best in the business.

Posted by maddy20 on (August 21, 2012, 0:11 GMT)

@Mark Nicholas "The South Africans were not favourites when this series in England began". That was damn funny Mark. Everyone except the so called "experts(particularly Englishmen) thought that SA were clear favorites. When I said SA were the deserving No.1, I was nearlydecimated by the likes of 5Wombats, bobmartin, Chris Sun and co., NOw its there for all to see. I would like Tony Greig to comment on England's loss of interest in test cricket now(just as he did about India) for limited overs games are the only thing they have won since getting the No.1 status in tests- 4-0 vs Pak and 4-1 vs Aus! I would also like you to make rather hilarious comments supporting his views ! Be humble in victory so that you will be respected, even in defeat. If you keep shooting your mouth off when you are winning , you will end up with a foot in mouth situation when you lose!

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 23:59 GMT)

Good Article .. a good job done by South African's...

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 23:12 GMT)

This piece did give me goosebumps .. for the poetry, heck! even the hyperbole. Gary Kirsten earns it, as does South Africa. We've savored his contribution to India, and god knows South Africa have needed a man like this.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 23:01 GMT)

Kirsten also took india to number one and world T20 champions

Posted by Alexk400 on (August 20, 2012, 22:49 GMT)

I still think Imran Tahir is not good in Pace oriented pitches. He has skill , flight what is missing is some cunning ness.. I feel he is kinda unlucky dude...because he had decent flight decent rip on the ball...he reminds me of mishra...but misra is bad because he has small fingers and he floats the ball...Tahir is ok not warne rip on the ball... I would bench tahir against australia unless its sydney. He needs to work on films to see how batsman played against left arm wrist spinners., i found england played him very well. That said he will take lots wickers against weaker teams . I will use tostobe instead of tahir.

Posted by GHemrajani on (August 20, 2012, 22:34 GMT)

England, please dump Flower and get Kirsten. Other SA will win the next one day World Cup.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 22:13 GMT)

Gary is surely becoming the Jose Murinoh of cricket. His objective and through the point coaching style had worked for India (undeniably most difficult side to coach) and now for South Africa (serial chokers) ....This SA team will remain on top for quiet some time...they will be beating a lot of sides away....including india and austrailia

Posted by vpk23 on (August 20, 2012, 21:41 GMT)

GARY ' USAIN ' KIRSTEN !!! WELL BOLTED!

Posted by vpk23 on (August 20, 2012, 21:39 GMT)

Awesom Midas! Touch Gold...

Posted by SurlyCynic on (August 20, 2012, 21:30 GMT)

Is it time for a 'Fortress Cape Town' article? Perhaps in a month or two once a 'long term legacy' has been established.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2012, 21:08 GMT)

Good article. England were beaten by a better team. No shame in that. They fought hard, maybe not their best but they played as a team. KP can go to hell he has no place in this squad. I admire what Strauss has done, and hope that he continues to push England forward as captain.

Keep working hard lads, well done Jonny.

Posted by serious-am-i on (August 20, 2012, 20:43 GMT)

One thing is sure for now, where Kirsten stays the team remains at top of the table. Kirsten is a lucky charm earlier for India now for SA. Great guy indeed. Lets see how much his charm can work off in the T20 WC.

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Mark NicholasClose
Mark Nicholas A prolific and stylish middle-order batsman for Hampshire, Mark Nicholas was unlucky never to have played for England, but after captaining his county to four major trophies he made his reputation as a presenter, commentator and columnist. Named the UK Sports Presenter of the Year in 2001 and 2005 by the Royal Television Society, he has commentated all over the world, from the World Cup in the West Indies to the Indian Premier League. He now hosts the cricket coverage for Channel 9 in Australia and Channel 5 in England.

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