India in SA

Confusion over Kirsten's plans

2011-01-24 11:37
Gary Kirsten (File)
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – It may be premature to suggest that Gary Kirsten is a shoe-in for the Proteas coaching post after the World Cup.

Speculation that India’s successful current coach will assume the reins from interim appointee Corrie van Zyl after the global tournament on the Subcontinent gathered pace after Cricket South Africa extended the deadline for applications from January 7 to February 18.

It is understood that this was at least partly motivated by a desire for Kirsten to present his CV to the designated CSA panel, making it a little easier for the former Proteas left-handed batsman to show interest – bearing in mind that he is still contractually bound to India until the end of the World Cup.

But whether Kirsten wants the South African job immediately or prefers a clear-cut, family-related break from the game seems to be the million-dollar question right now.

The good news for South African fans who wish Kirsten to take over is that a senior BCCI official was quoted on Sunday as saying: “I can confirm that he will not continue his coaching assignment with India after the World Cup.”

But some cold water was also poured onto his possible inheritance of the post closer to home by Sidharth Monga, an assistant editor for authoritative website ESPN Cricinfo.
Writing on the site on Sunday, Monga said: “Kirsten is not likely to go looking for another international job that soon, according to sources.”

The piece Monga wrote also reminded of Indian captain MS Dhoni’s words ahead of the just-completed series in South Africa.

An oft-confessed admirer of Kirsten, the wicketkeeper/batsman had said then: “Gary has two sons ... (and) wants to spend time with his family. That will be the most crucial thing for him.”

Kirsten himself, who has understandably been cautious not to say too much publically about his future aspirations while still working industriously and successfully with India, may well be genuinely undecided.

One thing that might tilt the balance in favour of his taking the SA mantle, if offered it, is that the Proteas have a reasonably lengthy break themselves after the World Cup, and then successive major home series next summer against Australia (October and November) and Sri Lanka over the festive season – that would keep “suitcase” life to a relative minimum for Kirsten.

It is only in February and March that they hit the road again, for Tests and ODIs in New Zealand, also not the most uncomfortable or tension-fraught environment on the cricketing planet ...

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