Proteas

Kirsten hopes for big finish

2013-05-22 18:34
Gary Kirsten (Gallo Images)
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Boucher bats for rhinos

2013-05-21 10:08

Watch former Proteas wicketkeeper Mark Boucher working to save Rhinos.

Cape Town - Gary Kirsten has said he wants to leave his job as Proteas coach 'with a bang' by winning the ICC Champions Trophy next month.

Speaking to The Star's website, Kirsten said he was determined to end his coaching tenure in the best possible way, following his decision not to renew his contract with the Proteas earlier this month.

"I hope to go out with a bang," Kirsten said.

After steering his team to the number one ranking in Test cricket, Kirsten was also eager to leave with a major title in the shorter form of the game.

Speaking from Khayalitsha, where the Proteas coach spent the day with members of the Sports and Recreation Department presenting sports gear and equipment to kids from Iqayiya High School, Kirsten expressed faith in his Proteas squad.

"We have a good squad going out there. But in tournaments of this nature, you need to be playing well at the right time. We’ll also need some luck, I think. We hope individuals will come through in pressure situations."

Kirsten acknowledged that South Africa faced a difficult challenge. Grouped with India, Pakistan and the West Indies in a tough Group B, they have already suffered the loss of key players Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith, but Kirsten backed his team's abilities, despite setbacks.

"Kallis and Smith will be sorely missed, no doubt. They are experienced internationals who've faced these situations before, but I have confidence in the guys who will take over. In the last two years we have tried out seven or eight new players for our ODI squad, and I’m encouraged by how they've fared."

Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula, who was there honouring Kirsten for his contribution to development in SA sport, said that he was concerned when he first heard of Kirsten's impending departure, but revealed that Gary Kirsten would continue to workclosely with Cricket South Africa in other roles for the good of SA cricket.

"I was worried that he may have been forced out, but he was blunt with me, telling me he’s leaving for family reasons. But he has left the team in the capable hands of Russell Domingo, who will continue with a good job."

"We will continue to work with Kirsten so that he can nurture talent in this country," Mbalula said.

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