Indian cricket April 10, 2009

Tendulkar praises Kirsten's role

Cricinfo staff

Sachin Tendulkar has praised India's coach Gary Kirsten for his role in the team's first Test series win in New Zealand for more than 41 years. Since beating Australia late last year India have been on a roll, with their confidence right up, and Tendulkar felt Kirsten's allowing the team to be themselves was key.

"A lot of credit has to go to coach Gary Kirsten who has allowed the natural instincts of players to flourish," he told the Mumbai-based tabloid Mid-day. "A lot has got to do with what's going on in a player's mind and Gary has played a huge role there.

"Along with Gary, the support staff Venkatesh Prasad (bowling coach), Robin Singh (fielding coach), our physio Nitin Patel and Paddy Upton (mental conditioning coach). It's the huge effort from all of them that has created this environment."

India, not having won a Test series in New Zealand for more than 41 years, achieved their goal. This came after they beat Australia and England at home in Test series. Crucial to these wins has been the balance and belief of the side, said Tendulkar.

"We've got some seriously talented players. The secret to this success is the players are playing their natural game. That can only happen if the atmosphere is good and the mind is free of any kind of pressure," he said.

"It would be wrong to say earlier teams did not try hard enough and they didn't mean business," he said. "Everyone goes out there to win. I just feel this is a nicely balanced side with a lot of talent. Without these aspects it wouldn't have happened. The guys are scoring big and the bowlers are striking as often as they possibly can."

Tendulkar said India started getting that winning feeling outside the subcontinent after their Test success against Zimbabwe in 2001, a victory that ended one of the most dismal streaks in all of sport.

"That gave us a lot of confidence that yes we can win Test matches abroad. Once you know how to win a Test match and when you do it often, it's a fantastic feeling," said Tendulkar. "Five days of competitive cricket and healthy competition make things exciting. Mind you, all this started in a different manner with nobody scoring a hundred or no bowler getting a five-wicket haul in 2001. It was a clear-cut indication of a team effort in that Bulawayo game. After that, there have been some good performances and we grew in confidence."