South Africa v India, 1st Test, Centurion December 13, 2010

Kirsten out of his comfort zone

The India coach is in a territory he's often stayed out of since he took charge. He's in the limelight, and his familiarity with South Africa has a lot to do with it
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Gary Kirsten's shoulder has played a major role in India's rise as a team during the almost three years that he has spent with them. He is supremely fit for a man his age, for someone who last played international cricket six-and-a-half years ago, fitter probably than some of his wards. No one has kept a count on the number of balls he throws down to the Indian batsmen in the nets, but here is an estimation guide: in every nets session he gives each batsman about 40 throwdowns. And there is at least one nets session before every international match to go with the training camps and pre-tour preparations where he goes absolutely berserk working at the batsmen's techniques. Just count the number of games India play, and the number of batsmen they have, and do the math.

And these are not half-hearted throwdowns from the middle of the pitch. These come at full pace, from across the whole 22 yards. And he is no bowling machine. He adjusts according to batsmen's weaknesses, the conditions and the opposition bowlers' strengths. He scuffs up the balls to swing them at times, and sometimes he uses soft balls and serves them with a tennis racquet to either get prodigious swing or the disconcerting bounce. After almost every shot he gives the batsmen feedback on their position, their bat swing, their feet movement. He puts an arm around Gautam Gambhir's shoulder and talks, he keeps joking with Virender Sehwag, and he has long earnest discussions with Sachin Tendulkar, who incidentally is the biggest fan of Kirsten's throwdowns and always keeps asking for more.

When somebody plays a good shot, he shouts "shot" followed by the batsman's full name; when somebody doesn't he comes up close and tries to understand why he might not be playing good shots.

On one of the most important tours his team is on, one that he says could be the "defining moment", he has been pulled out of his comfort zone. His comfort zone has been to stay away from the limelight, to let his team express itself, and in the process give him expression. His comfort zone has been to try and put the team in a happy place, to allow it to make optimum use of the talent he knows it has. Suddenly, though, with his being a South African, everybody is talking of the effect Kirsten's knowledge of the local conditions and the psyche of the South African players might have on the outcome of the series.

There was also a small matter of having convinced the BCCI to do something unprecedented, to make them pull out many of the star players from a home ODI series, a big commercial draw, and send them to South Africa early so they could get acclimatised with the conditions, so they could get into a happy place. Down here in South Africa he has had the team train at his academy for about a week. For a change Kirsten is drawing all the attention.

Out of his comfort zone, Kirsten has shortened the lengths of his throwdowns, and is also running in a bit so that the balls are coming quicker at the batsmen. And he is getting them to bounce head high on the practice pitches at the Supersport Park in Centurion, where two days of drizzle and cold weather finally gave way to a sunny Monday afternoon and a three-hour-long workout for the team. There is a lot of precision involved: the difference between the lengths of deliveries that Suresh Raina should sway away from and the ones he should duck under is less than a foot. And Kirsten keeps hitting those lengths. Raina sways out of the line of most, staying outside their line, and ducks under a few. Suddenly a full one arrives without warning, and Raina's weight is not back and he drives handsomely. "Shot Suresh Raina."

When Tendulkar gets to face Kirsten, he requests for more even when his time is over and he is supposed to switch to the other net. Kirsten will be happy he has been shouting out full names often today. Especially Sehwag's. He has an eye over at the adjoining nets too where Tendulkar - bowling with pads and the full batting gear save the helmet on - has caused a racket by bowling Gambhir around his legs. He joins in the laugh for a few seconds, and then gets back to his throwdowns.

Kirsten is happy that the team is happy, looking prepared for their biggest challenge since their ascent to No. 1 started. And the team is happy with him. "Apart from having good players in the side, he was the one thing - you can say the best thing that happened to Indian cricket," MS Dhoni says. He also adds that having Kirsten is a huge advantage coming to South Africa. "It is not only about the conditions, he also knows about the mindset of the players that are part of their side. Of course it is a good asset."

Over the next two days, Kirsten will do his utmost to prepare the team in the best possible way, for the conditions he knows and the opposition whose mindset he knows. But come 10 am on Thursday, when Dhoni walks out for the toss, he will disappear into the background again. His comfort zone.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on December 17, 2010, 21:12 GMT

    Y not using bowling machine that can generate the pace of morkel & steyn...............and can use up full 22 yds pitch......as a batsman receiving balls from shorter pitch never emulates receiving balls fromm 22 yds.......this is the reason team india struggled in 1st innings...just preparefor balls at 160 kph balled from balling machine at differnt lengths but coming at stums or at body .................................Kirsten should only offer additional tips

  • saltmine on December 17, 2010, 17:24 GMT

    Come on India; send Gary home (I hear Greg Chappell is looking for a job...)

  • on December 16, 2010, 3:33 GMT

    morkel and steryn will be hit out for park for huge sixer that is for sure

  • Spelele on December 15, 2010, 13:38 GMT

    @Rahul Shanbhogue and @Asis Rout, thank you so much guys for telling me about the Dronacharya award. Wow, it seems to have so much honour and prestige attached to it. Although Asis has suggested that maybe foreign coaches cannot recieve the award, as a South African myself, I am humbled that you guys in India think Kirsten is deserving of such honour. Really lovely lols......

  • on December 15, 2010, 13:38 GMT

    hey guys most of you aren't aware that south africa are beatable... You are all thinking about the past and living in it. Times have changed .This is a great indian team with full confidence and potential to win any team. Beware we are ready to roar.

  • diri on December 15, 2010, 6:39 GMT

    Ahhh the irony...A South African going to help India beat SA....lol We want you back in SA Gary and we want you to coach the proteas

  • on December 14, 2010, 18:26 GMT

    What a great article about a coaching style. Kirsten is experienced, dedicated, demands the very best, models hard work, plays with the team, praises out loud, deals with problems quietly and the result is the players are happy and relaxed. Happy and relaxed is the best way to get the very best of an individual and team to be played when it counts. Great article about a great coach!

  • on December 14, 2010, 17:18 GMT

    India's chances will be slim... they're stepping outta their nests and entering real world. a land of the lions, cheetahs, jaguars etc... god bless their souls

  • on December 14, 2010, 16:37 GMT

    @spelele

    In Mahabharatha (an epic story in Indian or rather Hindu Mythology), Dronacharya was a guru (teacher) of the greatest Archer, Arjun, in the history of India. Dronacharya was a task master who trained his students rigorously and also taught them discipline. He was considered to be the greatest teacher of all for his skills, calmness, principles etc. So today we give out the Dronacharya award to those who are considered to be amazing teachers/trainers, who basically become the main reason for the rise of their wards to the top.

  • anupamkr on December 14, 2010, 16:26 GMT

    Gary Kirsten has been asn asset for team India. His work and inputs have helped shape the team in the current form. Gary's days with the South African team and his knowledge of the South African condition and players will go a long way in helping team India.

  • on December 17, 2010, 21:12 GMT

    Y not using bowling machine that can generate the pace of morkel & steyn...............and can use up full 22 yds pitch......as a batsman receiving balls from shorter pitch never emulates receiving balls fromm 22 yds.......this is the reason team india struggled in 1st innings...just preparefor balls at 160 kph balled from balling machine at differnt lengths but coming at stums or at body .................................Kirsten should only offer additional tips

  • saltmine on December 17, 2010, 17:24 GMT

    Come on India; send Gary home (I hear Greg Chappell is looking for a job...)

  • on December 16, 2010, 3:33 GMT

    morkel and steryn will be hit out for park for huge sixer that is for sure

  • Spelele on December 15, 2010, 13:38 GMT

    @Rahul Shanbhogue and @Asis Rout, thank you so much guys for telling me about the Dronacharya award. Wow, it seems to have so much honour and prestige attached to it. Although Asis has suggested that maybe foreign coaches cannot recieve the award, as a South African myself, I am humbled that you guys in India think Kirsten is deserving of such honour. Really lovely lols......

  • on December 15, 2010, 13:38 GMT

    hey guys most of you aren't aware that south africa are beatable... You are all thinking about the past and living in it. Times have changed .This is a great indian team with full confidence and potential to win any team. Beware we are ready to roar.

  • diri on December 15, 2010, 6:39 GMT

    Ahhh the irony...A South African going to help India beat SA....lol We want you back in SA Gary and we want you to coach the proteas

  • on December 14, 2010, 18:26 GMT

    What a great article about a coaching style. Kirsten is experienced, dedicated, demands the very best, models hard work, plays with the team, praises out loud, deals with problems quietly and the result is the players are happy and relaxed. Happy and relaxed is the best way to get the very best of an individual and team to be played when it counts. Great article about a great coach!

  • on December 14, 2010, 17:18 GMT

    India's chances will be slim... they're stepping outta their nests and entering real world. a land of the lions, cheetahs, jaguars etc... god bless their souls

  • on December 14, 2010, 16:37 GMT

    @spelele

    In Mahabharatha (an epic story in Indian or rather Hindu Mythology), Dronacharya was a guru (teacher) of the greatest Archer, Arjun, in the history of India. Dronacharya was a task master who trained his students rigorously and also taught them discipline. He was considered to be the greatest teacher of all for his skills, calmness, principles etc. So today we give out the Dronacharya award to those who are considered to be amazing teachers/trainers, who basically become the main reason for the rise of their wards to the top.

  • anupamkr on December 14, 2010, 16:26 GMT

    Gary Kirsten has been asn asset for team India. His work and inputs have helped shape the team in the current form. Gary's days with the South African team and his knowledge of the South African condition and players will go a long way in helping team India.

  • rlefti on December 14, 2010, 15:58 GMT

    My suggestion would be also take some advise from Sourav who made a remarkable comback in SA last time considering his weakness against Fast bowling...He made few technical changes to counter those weakness it worked well..Please Rainas, dhonis and ghambirs works on those and you will be fine....

  • on December 14, 2010, 15:43 GMT

    @spelele Dronacharya award is meant for the sports coaches in India.But I don't think Gary can be given this award.I have the checked the recipients list and there are no foreigners among them.

  • crikkfan on December 14, 2010, 15:42 GMT

    Dronacharya Award is an award presented by the government of India for excellence in sports coaching. The award comprises a bronze statuette of Dronacharya, a scroll of honour and a cash component of Rs.300,000. The award was instituted in 1985. As the best sportsperson award is named Arjuna Award, it is appropriate that the coaching award is named after Dronacharya, as he was the Guru of Arjuna.

  • on December 14, 2010, 15:24 GMT

    high class whon by our coach deserves something for his efforts after john wright he has done more than wht was expected.....brilliant coaching ...one of our biggest assets indeed...so our board must treat him well even after this......cos bcci has a habit of forgetting all past achievements :HAIL KIRSTEN

  • on December 14, 2010, 14:58 GMT

    First of all a wonderful article by Siddharth Monga.I felt like I had actually been taken on a tour to the nets ! Gary Kirsten has been the unsung hero in the success story of the Indian team so far. Low-profile like John Wright, he has quietly managed to get the best out of the players and I agree with MSD when he says that Kirsten is the best thing to have happened to Team India so far. And yes he does deserve Dronacharya Award. I know the government won't bestow him with such an award, but it's enough that so many of us here think that he deserves it. Irrespective of how the result in the SA series turns out to be;he deserves all the plaudits he is getting now.

  • muthunimalan on December 14, 2010, 14:49 GMT

    gary should look at bringing Dhoni at No3. Ideally the batting order for us should be Sehwag, gambhir, Dhoni,Sachin,VVS Laxman, Dravid,Pujara or Raina or Yuvraj and four bowlers in Test series. Also 4 fast bowlers should be taken in 11 playing team in swinging and overcast conditions as we have spin option in lights of Yuvraj Sehwag and Sachin.

  • RohanBhalerao on December 14, 2010, 14:30 GMT

    A well-deserved DRONACHARYA award up for grabs surely..!

  • Chona on December 14, 2010, 14:27 GMT

    This is the real test for Indian Team....They have been enjoying home conditions and beating SA, Australia etc while not leaving home....

    Now they will have to play on bounciest of pitches...and regrettably for India ..on foreign soil.......!!!!!

    Look out for hopping sehwag, skipping laxman+dhoni, and jumping Gambhir.. I think only Sachin will deal with Bounce in a better way....!!! Dravid will play the bouncers but will succumb to fast full pitch deliveries due to slower reflexes... On bowling front they do not have anyone look at for consistency..Zaheer might take a 3'fer or 4'fer here and there... otherwise no FIREPOWER....

    So South Africa will have to play badly to lose the series .... India is not good enough to win a test in SA ...on merit...... India's decline from number one will start from this series........Unless weather or other chance\mysterious factors intervene.......

  • on December 14, 2010, 14:20 GMT

    @Ska. Its Kepler Wessels who played for both the countries SA & Aus, not the Kirsten brothers

  • on December 14, 2010, 14:13 GMT

    my favorite is kallis and i would like to see atleast 2centuries. the greatest ever allrounder of the planet.

  • on December 14, 2010, 13:39 GMT

    @Ska, no that is not correct. Neither Kirsten played for Australia. Peter (Gary's half brother) played a few tests for South Africa at the end of his career, as South Africa was returning to international cricket (overlapping with Gary for a couple of games) You may be mixing them up with Kepler Wessels, who played for Australia during the 80s.

  • on December 14, 2010, 13:22 GMT

    I'd say Gary is best Investment which perfectly shows why India is rated the # 1 side in the world.. After John Wright, Gary is the best coach , India could have wished for and he made them stronger and wiser in all formats and even the second string started to perform much better which doesn;t happen so often..

    If Gary gets India cross the line in South Africa and see Sachin Holds the World Cup aloft, then he has definitely made points worthy to be awarded with as the Best Coach in the world after Bob Simpson.

    Hats Off Gary Kirsten!!!

  • Spelele on December 14, 2010, 13:04 GMT

    What's the Dronacharya award?

  • LourensGrobbelaar on December 14, 2010, 12:44 GMT

    @New_Wind The players will recieve throw downs from the coach for working on specific part of their techniques. They will also be facing lots of regularly bowled balls from the regular bowlers. 40 throwdowns for a batsman is not enough, it is only focused on certain aspects of play. Gary has instilled his fighting spirit on this Indian team I think. I still hope SA will win, but this Indian stands the best chance of all previous teams to win in SA. Donald and Cronje was always Tendulkar's nemesis, but they are not around anymore. Lots will depend on how both team's bowlers perform, especially the matchup between Sharma and Morkel for consistency.

  • Petesta on December 14, 2010, 12:41 GMT

    Wow, now I almost want India to win so GK doesn't go from hero to zero. If India do lose, I hope their fans don't turn on Gary. He's either good or he isn't; you're all saying he's good so leave it at that regardless of the result. Go SA! Go Amla, Kallis and AB! Alot depends on these three exceptional batsman. When we're chasing a big 4th innings total, alot depends on Graeme. And Dale and Morne... rather you than me is all I can say about running in to bowl at Sehwag. Lets hope he doesn't like bouncy pitches!

  • Shaju.K on December 14, 2010, 12:30 GMT

    Dear Manoj Garhwal, are you talking about Kepler Wessels? Don't think Gary Kirsten has ever played for Australia.

  • Go_F.Alonso on December 14, 2010, 12:26 GMT

    @Manoj Garhwal: It's true that a Kirsten has played for Australia but I think most fans also know that it was Peter; Gary only played for RSA. @ajithn1966: If they do, Gary would be a worthy recipient ... although there might be other dedicated coaches in other disciplines who'll never be acknowledged/recognized.

  • joshilay on December 14, 2010, 12:19 GMT

    A tremendous asset to this Indian team for the kind of grittiness and consistency shown over a period!!!

    Class!

  • on December 14, 2010, 10:58 GMT

    Gary has always been one of my favorite Batsman & a wonderful person and I was more than pleased when he was chosen as the Indian Coach. I had this sixth sense telling me that he would do wonders to Team India and truly he did so without slightest doubt. Gary, as everyone is saying; make us win this SA series and also the World Cup. Trust me, Country India would be grateful to you ever n ever. And yes, I would also ask Govt. to honor him with Dronacharya award...

  • Seether1 on December 14, 2010, 10:56 GMT

    @Morpheus273: Winning a WC means progresing beyond semi-finals, hence SA are not champions. Being the No 1 teams in the world means winning in all countries, hence India are not No 1!

  • on December 14, 2010, 10:17 GMT

    So if you thought there was not much to choose between a South African and an Australian coach think again. And who would you choose again?

  • on December 14, 2010, 9:54 GMT

    Being a possessional coach Kirsten wont have any problems to work with India to beat RSA. Its true that he played for RSA but I think most fans also know that he had also played for Australia. The silent policy of the Indian team and the coach are working wonders. The players are putting their maximum on the field rather than on the mike.

  • on December 14, 2010, 9:38 GMT

    Great Work! Well written! Gary is the best coach for India till date n BCCI should extend his contract without giving any thougt. Best of Luck India for SA series and the WC should be ours this time.....cheerz

  • Srini.M on December 14, 2010, 9:38 GMT

    Absolute words came out from MSD about his team guru Garry.. We need to appreciate the efforts his putting in to make India to stay at the top rank, and also to win against his own home team SA.. i feel his the best coach of India's team. because he is the person who always thinks from the player prospective & then give feedback about players weakness & strengths..... Garry the only & final request from my side to you is help us to win this WC 2011..... Because you have that potential to make india to be the World champion Team... All the Very Best!!!...... Garry...

  • Aristocratt on December 14, 2010, 9:34 GMT

    Kirsten has taken coaching to a new level, and one of the best things he has done is to take himself away from the limelight. He has learnt from the mistakes those before may have made. And he's not allowed his ego to run rough-shod over his team players, and that's something for which he must be complimented. Wonderful example to the entire world of cricket, and for coaches past and present.

  • chaitukash79 on December 14, 2010, 9:04 GMT

    For somebody who started out his India coaching stint on a wrong foot with his juvenile anti-India comments - Gary has really come a long way. He was one of my favorite batsmen when he was playing cricket and he certainly has done a remarkable job with this team. I his efforts and this wonderful Indian team gets us the world cup!

  • lvli on December 14, 2010, 8:43 GMT

    hiiii 2 all....n it vl b really xcitin for all to watch this epic clash.....man....finally,,,sachin n company i should say....will cherish th moments again they had after beating aussies.....th celebration moments sachin displayed..he never does,,very rare...m sure he is on song,,,,he will guide INDIA to their first test series win in this african fort....and with their team effort...INDIA will win finally WC when SACHIN is also there....his unfulfilled dream till now...and PROTEAS,,,m sure u gonna xpect lot of centuries from INDIAN blades....get ready for brisk bowling from ISHANT and ZAHEER,,,,god bless u....we all will be with you in writing another TEAM INDIA glory chapter in your land....have fun....

  • Morpheus273 on December 14, 2010, 8:27 GMT

    Gary as a coach has done a lot for team India. If my memory serves right, no other coach has ever taken so much pain to build a team. And I am not talking only about India. His contrbutions can't be matched with other coaches, apart from John Wright, have had since they started playing cricket. He has done what John Wright did under Ganguly's captaincy. But where he exceeds others is in his dedication towards making Team India the best team in the world. He has and is still continuing to i nbettering the achievement. Hats Off to Gary. I sincerely hope, when ever he plans to separate from Indian team, he should be duly credited and honoured for what he has done to Team India.

    SAs wan't Gary as their coach, with a greed of replicating India's success under Gary. SAs, THE CHOKERS, even if he coaches you for next 100 years, who will never be the best team in the world and forget about winning the WORLD CUP. Winning the world cup requires winning past the SEMI-FINAL Stages :) :) :) .

  • Kothandaram on December 14, 2010, 8:13 GMT

    Well written piece. Kirsten has worked wonders with the Indian team. It will be really great if the team can win the Test series in South Africa. A World Cup triumph in the sub-continent early next year will be the icing on the cake.

    A popular man among the Indian players, he needs praise and the BCCI will do well for extend his contract

  • ajithn1966 on December 14, 2010, 8:09 GMT

    Can the Indian Government honour him with the Dhronacharya award?

  • diri on December 14, 2010, 7:34 GMT

    Ahhh the irony...A South African going to help India beat SA....lol We want you back in SA Gary and we want you to coach the proteas

  • on December 14, 2010, 7:28 GMT

    I agree with the fact that Gary is the only victorious coach that India have ever had in terms of every thing such as tactics, friendly attitude with any player, dedication, involvement in every aspects of players and the game in healthy manner etc.,etc.,And more importantly he never played any dirty politics in dividing the players to rule so far and hence he is at top along with our national team. Hats off to this great man!!!! Wishing ALL THE VERY BEST TO OUR TEAM TO MAKE US PROUD BY LIFTING THE WC 2011!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Raj_pandian on December 14, 2010, 7:24 GMT

    Indian government should definitely recognize all his efforts.. he is only reason behind all the success of our team...

  • Roy312 on December 14, 2010, 7:21 GMT

    Very well written article by Sidharth Monga.Gary Kirsten is definitely one of the most successful coaches the Indian Cricket Team has had.Nice to know that he himself in contributing in a huge way by his policy of throwdowns for all the batsmen of the team before every match. Well done Gary Kirsten.I personally feel that India have it in them to win their first ever test and ODI series in South Africa, especially under their dedicated and experienced coach.

  • Cricket_Analyst on December 14, 2010, 7:11 GMT

    I agree with Dhoni when he says that Kirsten is the best thing to have happened to Indian Cricket. Both he & Wright have been instrumental in India' ascendancy to the top. But Kirsten had more challenges in the sense that he had to undo what Chappell was " successful in doing" and then begin from scratch...Looks like currently... australia is suffering from Chappell's ascendancy to " High Perfromance" manager.

  • on December 14, 2010, 7:05 GMT

    Going from Greg to Gary... BCCI bosses aided by player inputs have made one of the biggest rights for Indian cricket... We have unearthed an amazing diamond from almost nowhere... Great job...

  • klopolki on December 14, 2010, 6:59 GMT

    Well written Sidarth. After watching several test matches on TV from far out USA, I have been shocked to see that stalwarts like Virender Sehwag ans Rahul Dravid repeatedly and continuously avoid grounding the bat at crucial moments to prevent run outs. Most commentators have also spoken about this. It will be interesting to read from your future articles, if Gary has ever attempted to councel these two players on this aspect of the game. Gary K deserves praise for the deep understanding of Indian freedom and allowing each player to collectively use their independant plans to push the Captain's and team strategy. Best Wishes to all in SA.

  • dr.harishtelu on December 14, 2010, 6:32 GMT

    In india it is very hard to escape from media especially when u r Indian cricket coach. Results shows how he works. Great work. KUGW Gary

  • New_Wind on December 14, 2010, 6:26 GMT

    A question for anyone who has played cricket - Why does Gary (a specialist batsman and now in his 40s) has to do throw downs. Can't he tell our battery of upcoming ballers (except Zak and Bhajji, everyone is upcoming and eager to bawl) what type of balls they shud throw to a particular batsman and then himself focus on the batsman's technique? Just a query as I have never been to nets.

  • kapilesh23 on December 14, 2010, 6:14 GMT

    i haven't commented for a long time on cricinfo, but this article have forced me to comment .gary kirsten is not only the best coach India ever had but he is definitely one of the best coach in the world .its so easy to just sing praises for players but the person who is responsible for all this is not even noticed .gary kirsten is an ideal sports person with great sportsman spirit . the biggest thing i like about gary is that he is very reserved guy and he never feel any need of coming out and screaming in public .

  • on December 14, 2010, 5:43 GMT

    Good Job, Gary!! We appreciate your work.. Imagine our other 'older' coaches, tossing a few tennis balls, let alone these valuable throwdowns at express pace.. This guy needs to be appreciated by the Govt. Good to see acknowledgement coming from Dhoni, Sachin and the others. This team (coach included) can go far!!

  • satzcrazy1 on December 14, 2010, 5:10 GMT

    Well Written Sidharth... U sometimes write a nice articles like this... The first thing i like about the Gary is his Honesty. He is very honest to his profession and very friendly towards the players. He has taken up & downs evenly and not too excited nor disappointed. We would like to hold you for another 2 - 3 years, but at the same time we understand u need to take care of your family as well. Your contract is going to be finished by the end of the world cup and we will have new coach, new victories, but we never will have another Gary. Take a bow Mr.Perfect.....

  • on December 14, 2010, 4:53 GMT

    Yes I completely agree with Girish. Well Written Siddharth u ook us to nets. Girish u did a decent job with your text as well. Some people came to cricket with limited talent and made the maximum use of it. Kirsten to me was a player didnt had class like Sachin or Lara but he did utilise his skills to his best. he was very effective as a player in both forms of game and his records says it all. Hope India wins this tour for him and then the world cup for Sachin. All the best Boys

  • ManishJadav on December 14, 2010, 4:52 GMT

    Superb article so does Gary..

  • on December 14, 2010, 4:07 GMT

    Firstly....to siddharth (Well written) u almot took u to the practice nets. Now, Gary our man on mission, Completly agree with the fact that he hasgiven his sweat and blood to the Indian team...if not the Govt of India recognises his contribution doesnt matter,...because we the fans make the game and to see such commnets from fellow fans (all above) is heartning....so Now all prayers and wishes to India and Indian Cricket team...Jai HO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • on December 14, 2010, 3:49 GMT

    Awesome!!!! I am a big fan of Gary when he played for South Africa and even now. The way he brought Indian team to No.1 place in test and #2 position in one dayers, that tells the success story. He is a professional candidate. You can judge that having a look at his records. That will tell. If he goes on duck in a match, you can count on him next match either 50 or 100. That's how he played and that's the only way he knows to mentor also. Indeed, as Dhoni said, he is a real asset to Indian team.

  • abbose on December 14, 2010, 3:37 GMT

    Gary Kirsten symbolizes everything that an ideal coach should be. He is a mentor par excellence and he has, in a very unassuming way, managed to effect a manner of unity in the Indian team like never before. As I look back, I am convinced that he is the exact opposite of what Greg Chappell used to be. Greg used to behave like a 500 pound chest thumping, teeth gnashing gorilla. He liked to show off that he was in charge - the male alpha, if you will. Gary in his calm and confident manner has been very civilized in his approach. Dhoni's words, 'he is probably the best thing that has happened to India' captures it all. I think Gary should be seriously considered for Government of India's Dronacharya Award. Is the Government listening???

  • arewekamath on December 14, 2010, 3:15 GMT

    Nice article. Kirsten has been doing a good job. I wish him and Team India all the best to win this series and strengthen their No. 1 position.

  • Jan on December 14, 2010, 3:03 GMT

    Loved the article and nice work from Kirsten. I wonder why aren't there any ICC award for best coach. It will then be a tough competition between Gary Kirsten and Andy Flower.

  • on December 14, 2010, 2:44 GMT

    he mentored indian team extremely well.. he was always a very good player and gutsy.. he applied all her skills to bring the best out of the indian team..kudos to ur efforts..

  • machchan on December 14, 2010, 2:03 GMT

    There is only one thing I can say: Shot Gary Kirsten!

  • Pankaj1955 on December 14, 2010, 1:51 GMT

    Hey Saswat, they should have given at least a Padma Shri to John Wright since he was responsible for India's first series win in Pakistan, but Wright's contribution was never recognized by India as a country and Indian Government never honored him. So I have doubts whether Kirsten would be awarded in recognition to his services to Indian cricket. But we could always be hopeful !

  • cricket__fan on December 14, 2010, 1:01 GMT

    The article is good but unless the Indian batsmen deliver and score heavily in this series against South Africa, the effect of the practice of "throwdowns" remains a BIG question mark.

  • sportsfansav on December 14, 2010, 0:45 GMT

    Very well written! I'm happy to see they he's been given due credit for his work. He came in at a time when India were reeling from the effects of Chappell's questionable coaching decisions. And he uplifted this team to become world beaters. Sometimes the quiet, hardworking, background guys are the ones laying the solid foundation, which is exactly what Kirsten has been doing.If this culminates in a successful tour in South Africa, India will be entering the world cup on a confident note and as favorites. Mr. Kirsten, well done sir!

  • killbillgbu on December 13, 2010, 22:58 GMT

    The biggest thing I see after Kirsten came in to coach India, is a "One Team" mentality. There does not appear to be factions within the team. This goes a long way in helping India win matches. Yes, traditional coaching is important and is being done too, i.e batting, fielding, bowling, fitness etc...but I am most impressed at how the "One Team" mentality has come about. The previous coaches could not achieve this.

  • SurlyCynic on December 13, 2010, 22:30 GMT

    Guess that's why the Indian batsmen do so well against Malinga et al.

  • on December 13, 2010, 22:03 GMT

    The man has been the bulwark of South African batting in his own unobtrusive way. He didn't play square cuts off front foot like Hudson, do salmon leaps like Rhodes or fire in balls and verbals alike like Donald. Make no mistake though .. when in a crisis they always wanted Gary to build around .. brick my brick. After the trigger happy reign of Chappell which threatened to undo the gains of John Wright - Kirsten has brought calm. He has set the standards, gotten hands on without being schoolmasterly and his views have been honest but never insulting. Highly paid international cricketers of India have their ego - Kirsten has known how best to channel those into performance. South Africa will prove how far the work has been done - regardless of the result though, Gary's report card would be emphatically positive.

  • mrgupta on December 13, 2010, 21:55 GMT

    Brilliant Article Sidharth. You have given the long due mention for the work Kirsten has been putting in. I am so surprised that we don't give this guy more credit for he has been one of the most important factor for India's rise. The irony here is that I hated him when he used to play against India as the SA opening batsmen as he was their star player that time, but now not only i am a big fan of him I also respect him a lot for his tireless and honest work. Good Luck Team India and good Luck Gary!

  • cric4india on December 13, 2010, 21:52 GMT

    Well written! Now I almost feel they gotta win for him! :) He has spiced up the tour as well now

  • on December 13, 2010, 21:18 GMT

    I will be surprised if they don't give the "Dronacharya" award to Kirsten soon.

  • Razor88 on December 13, 2010, 20:22 GMT

    Hats Off!!.I liked a lot of Players in the SA team in their Playing days,one is gary and how can one Forget Ntini and the Other is the legendary Kallis.But to have one of my Fav Players as Our Coach itself is Huge thing for me.But Gary has been something more to the Indian Cricket than for SA.Thats what i'm thinking.I'm sure Gary has a Huge Fan base in India,But its jus getting bigger by the day. :) Hope he Continues as Our Couch till his Body can take it.I bet he would have Trained Players to no get Injured.Looks like he is Fitter than most of the Indian Player.Take a Bow Gary.You are the best Coach India has had - Atleast Since i started watching Cricket.More than the Indian Players I guess Chappell Should take few lessons on How to coach a cricketing team!!.

  • on December 13, 2010, 19:13 GMT

    Gary, hats off to you man!!

  • VJ4IND on December 13, 2010, 19:12 GMT

    Kristen rocks...Definitely he is the man behind for India's great success over the last couple of years....He truly deserves lot of credit .

  • on December 13, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    Thank you Kirsten! Team India and rest of India salute your efforts and motivation to help our team rise :)

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  • on December 13, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    Thank you Kirsten! Team India and rest of India salute your efforts and motivation to help our team rise :)

  • VJ4IND on December 13, 2010, 19:12 GMT

    Kristen rocks...Definitely he is the man behind for India's great success over the last couple of years....He truly deserves lot of credit .

  • on December 13, 2010, 19:13 GMT

    Gary, hats off to you man!!

  • Razor88 on December 13, 2010, 20:22 GMT

    Hats Off!!.I liked a lot of Players in the SA team in their Playing days,one is gary and how can one Forget Ntini and the Other is the legendary Kallis.But to have one of my Fav Players as Our Coach itself is Huge thing for me.But Gary has been something more to the Indian Cricket than for SA.Thats what i'm thinking.I'm sure Gary has a Huge Fan base in India,But its jus getting bigger by the day. :) Hope he Continues as Our Couch till his Body can take it.I bet he would have Trained Players to no get Injured.Looks like he is Fitter than most of the Indian Player.Take a Bow Gary.You are the best Coach India has had - Atleast Since i started watching Cricket.More than the Indian Players I guess Chappell Should take few lessons on How to coach a cricketing team!!.

  • on December 13, 2010, 21:18 GMT

    I will be surprised if they don't give the "Dronacharya" award to Kirsten soon.

  • cric4india on December 13, 2010, 21:52 GMT

    Well written! Now I almost feel they gotta win for him! :) He has spiced up the tour as well now

  • mrgupta on December 13, 2010, 21:55 GMT

    Brilliant Article Sidharth. You have given the long due mention for the work Kirsten has been putting in. I am so surprised that we don't give this guy more credit for he has been one of the most important factor for India's rise. The irony here is that I hated him when he used to play against India as the SA opening batsmen as he was their star player that time, but now not only i am a big fan of him I also respect him a lot for his tireless and honest work. Good Luck Team India and good Luck Gary!

  • on December 13, 2010, 22:03 GMT

    The man has been the bulwark of South African batting in his own unobtrusive way. He didn't play square cuts off front foot like Hudson, do salmon leaps like Rhodes or fire in balls and verbals alike like Donald. Make no mistake though .. when in a crisis they always wanted Gary to build around .. brick my brick. After the trigger happy reign of Chappell which threatened to undo the gains of John Wright - Kirsten has brought calm. He has set the standards, gotten hands on without being schoolmasterly and his views have been honest but never insulting. Highly paid international cricketers of India have their ego - Kirsten has known how best to channel those into performance. South Africa will prove how far the work has been done - regardless of the result though, Gary's report card would be emphatically positive.

  • SurlyCynic on December 13, 2010, 22:30 GMT

    Guess that's why the Indian batsmen do so well against Malinga et al.

  • killbillgbu on December 13, 2010, 22:58 GMT

    The biggest thing I see after Kirsten came in to coach India, is a "One Team" mentality. There does not appear to be factions within the team. This goes a long way in helping India win matches. Yes, traditional coaching is important and is being done too, i.e batting, fielding, bowling, fitness etc...but I am most impressed at how the "One Team" mentality has come about. The previous coaches could not achieve this.