Gary Kirsten

Gary Kirsten (born 23 November 1967) is a South African cricket coach and former cricketer. He has coached the Indian Cricket Team as well as the South African Cricket team.

Gary Kirsten
Gary Kirsten in 2009
Personal information
Full name
Gary Kirsten
Born (1967-11-23) 23 November 1967 (age 55)
Cape Town, Cape Province, South Africa
BowlingRight-arm off break
RoleOpening batsman
RelationsPaul Kirsten (brother)
Peter Kirsten, Andrew Kirsten (half-brothers)
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 257)26 December 1993 v Australia
Last Test30 March 2004 v New Zealand
ODI debut (cap 28)14 December 1993 v Australia
Last ODI3 March 2003 v Sri Lanka
ODI shirt no.1
Domestic team information
1987–2004Western Province
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI FC LA
Matches 101 185 221 294
Runs scored 7,289 6,798 16,670 9,586
Batting average 45.27 40.95 48.31 36.58
100s/50s 21/34 13/45 46/79 18/58
Top score 275 188* 275 188*
Balls bowled 349 30 1,727 138
Wickets 2 20 3
Bowling average 71.00 41.80 37.33
5 wickets in innings 0 1 0
10 wickets in match 0 0 0
Best bowling 1/0 6/68 1/25
Catches/stumpings 83/– 61/1 171/– 97/1
Source: Cricinfo, 28 December 2009

Kirsten played 101 Test matches and 185 One Day Internationals for South Africa between 1993 and 2004, mainly as an opening batsman. His half brother Peter also played provincial cricket for Western Province, and then later for the South Africa cricket team which included the highlight of the 1992 Cricket World Cup.

Kirsten was the coach of the Indian cricket team from 2008 to 2011, going on to win the 2011 Cricket World Cup. He was appointed as the coach of the South African cricket team in June 2011, and he stepped down in August 2013.[1]

Playing careerEdit

Kirsten made his Test debut against Australia in Melbourne in 1993. He retired from international cricket in 2004 after crafting a match-winning 76 in his final innings, against New Zealand. Against the same country, he had made history by becoming the first-ever Protea to play in 100 Test matches.

Over the years, Kirsten gained a reputation as being a sturdy batsman in both Test cricket and One Day cricket. He could up the tempo of an innings if he needed to, but more often than not he simply waited for the bad ball in test cricket. He was also a reliable fielder. Kirsten held the South African records for most runs and centuries in a Test career, before both were surpassed by Jacques Kallis. He was the first Test batsman to make hundreds against each of the other 9 Test nations. He scored 275 runs against England as a result of batting for over 14 and a half hours as South Africa followed on at Kingsmead in Durban, it still stands as the second-longest innings (in terms of duration) in Test history.[2]

The high score was later surpassed by Graeme Smith when he made 277 against England in 2003. He still holds the record for highest innings by a South African in a One Day International; 188 not-out made against the United Arab Emirates during the 1996 World Cup, which is the tenth[3] highest innings of all time in One Day International cricket, and the third-highest score in World Cup cricket history. This record stood until it was surpassed by Chris Gayle who scored 215 against Zimbabwe in 2015. Later, that record was surpassed by Martin Guptill who scored 237* against the West Indies in the quarter-finals of that very World Cup.

Coaching careerEdit

India (2008–2011)Edit

After retirement, Kirsten organized his own cricket academy.[4] In November 2007, it emerged that Kirsten was a candidate for the vacant post of coach of the India team.[5] The BCCI offered him a two-year contract for the post, and despite voicing reservations[6] about concerns he had about having the full support of the Indian players, he confirmed he would be taking the job on 4 December.[7]

Kirsten officially started as a coach on 1 March 2008. However, he travelled to Australia with India beforehand during the test series. His first full series in charge was against his home country, South Africa in March–April 2008 which was drawn 1–1. Also, he coached India to the finals of the Kitply Cup and 2008 Asia Cup (India lost both the finals). During his tenure as Coach of India, the Indian cricket team won a home series against Australia beating them 2–0. Apart from clinching the Border-Gavaskar trophy, he also coached India to its first bilateral series win in Sri Lanka against Sri Lanka and India's first Test and One-Day International series victories against New Zealand in New Zealand after 40 years. India also won the Compaq Cup, defeating Sri Lanka in the finals on 14 September 2009 by 46 runs. A highly accomplished batsman himself, he has brought in a considerable amount of improvement in the batting performances, which is largely associated with his ability to instill better confidence among younger players.

Kirsten has been praised by all players for improving/enhancing their playing techniques, motivating them and discussing tactics that can be deployed on the field. The results could be clearly seen within months. He is considered the key force behind the clearly visible performance improvement in all players. In 2010, Prior to the start of India's tour of South Africa, Indian captain M.S. Dhoni described him as "The best thing to happen to Indian cricket."[8]

In 2017, Kirsten spoke to HBR about the qualities of a great coach, coaching a young team, and learning from one's mistakes. Some edited excerpts of his interview are online.[9]

World Cup 2011Edit

After the tour of South Africa, which India drew 1–1 in the Test series lost 3–2 in ODIs, Kirsten announced he would not renew his contract with BCCI because of family commitments. Kirsten often stated that he wanted to spend time with his two growing sons, Joshua and James, and his wife. He has also stated that he felt three years away from home was long enough. Immediately after the announcement Kirsten was linked with joining South Africa as their coach as the South Africa coach Corrie van Zyl also announced his contract would end after the World Cup as well.[10]

Kirsten ended his tenure as coach after India won the 2011 Cricket World Cup defeating Sri Lanka by 6 wickets and 10 balls to spare on 2 April 2011 at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, India.[11] During the celebration, he was carried around the ground by Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan and Virat Kohli to show their respect.

Kirsten cleared the air of any rumours about a renewal in contract by adopting a modest approach on his further availability as a coach to the Indian team by stating that he wanted to say goodbye to India to spend time with his family.[citation needed]

South Africa (2011–2013)Edit

On 5 June 2011, Kirsten was appointed the full-time coach of the South Africa national cricket team for a term period of two years. His first decision was to name AB de Villiers as the new captain for the limited-overs game, replacing Graeme Smith who remained the Test side captain. Kirsten began his term as a coach on 1 August and his first assignment was a home series against Australia. He took over from Corrie van Zyl, who was an interim coach for 14 months after Mickey Arthur resigned following the home series against England in 2009–10. Under Kirsten, in August 2012, the South African team reached number 1 in the ICC Test rankings, by defeating England 2–0.

Kirsten did not renew his contract with Cricket South Africa (CSA) and stepped down as the coach of the national team in August 2013 citing family commitments.[1]

Hobart Hurricanes (2017–2018)Edit

On 3 April 2017, Kirsten was appointed head coach of the men's Hobart Hurricanes cricket team. The Hobart Hurricanes are Tasmania's professional T20 cricket club in the Australian Big Bash League.

Royal Challengers Bangalore (2017–2019)Edit

In January 2018, Royal Challengers Bangalore appointed Kirsten as their batting coach.[12] In August 2018, he was appointed as head coach of RCB following the sacking of their previous coach Daniel Vettori for the 2019 Indian Premier League .[13]

Gujarat Titans (2022–present)Edit

Following former head coach Dean Jones' death in September 2020, reports began to spread in December 2020 that Kirsten was appointed as the new head coach of the Karachi Kings. This was later revealed to be untrue, with Kirsten only being considered for the job, and it ultimately being given to former South African cricketer Herschelle Gibbs. In January 2021, reports came in that the Pakistan Cricket Board was planning to fire current head coach Misbah-Ul-Haq. This came following the team's poor results against New Zealand in the World Test Championship. Kirsten is reported to be a favourite for the job, along with former Zimbabwean player Andy Flower.

In January 2022, Kirsten was appointed batting coach and mentor of newly formed Gujarat Titans.[14]

Following the dismissal of Chris Silverwood due to the England Cricket Team's 4-0 defeat in the 2021-22 Ashes series, Kirsten emerged as a favourite for the role of Men's Test Head Coach having previously been linked with the England Cricket Team prior to Silverwood's appointment in 2019.[15][16][17] The role was instead given to Brendon McCullum. [18]

Business interestsEdit

In 2007, Kirsten joined Paddy Upton and Dale Williams to form a company called Performance Zone.[19] The focus of the company is to work with individuals and teams in business and sport, bringing out their clients' best performance. When Kirsten was appointed Indian coach and Upton as Indian mental conditioning coach on a two-year contract, they decided to continue the business. Its first project post Kirsten taking on the Indian coach role has been the creation of[20]


  1. ^ a b "Kirsten has stepped down as South African cricket coach". Wisden India. 10 May 2013. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
  2. ^ "Cricinfo". Cricinfo. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
  3. ^ "Cricinfo". Cricinfo. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
  4. ^ "Kirsten keen on mental skills coach". Retrieved 20 December 2010.
  5. ^ "Gary Kirsten Lined Up As New India Coach". 27 November 2007. Archived from the original on 14 March 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
  6. ^ "Kirsten Seeks Assurances Before Taking Over India Job". 3 December 2007. Archived from the original on 14 March 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
  7. ^ "Kirsten Signs Two-Year Deal To Coach India". 4 December 2007. Archived from the original on 14 March 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
  8. ^ "MS Dhoni says Gary Kirsten 'the best thing ever' for Indian squad". DNA India. Retrieved 25 May 2022.
  9. ^ "The Art of Coaching – an Interview with Gary Kirsten - HBR Ascend | HBR Ascend". Archived from the original on 22 December 2019. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Kirsten won't renew India contract after World Cup". Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Full Scorecard of Sri Lanka vs India Final 2010/11 - Score Report". Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  12. ^ "Nehra and Kirsten join RCB coaching staff". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Gary Kirsten replaces Daniel Vettori as RCB head coach". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  14. ^ "Ahmedabad IPL team to be called Gujarat Titans". Times of India. 9 February 2022. Retrieved 12 February 2022.
  15. ^ "How England Passed Over Gary Kirsten For Chris Silverwood In Their 2019 Head Coach Search". Wisden. 31 December 2021.
  16. ^ "England advertise for split head coach roles". BBC Sport.
  17. ^ "Chris Silverwood sacked as England head coach in wake of Ashes defeat". Sky Sports.
  18. ^ "Brendon McCullum appointed England Men's Test Head Coach". English Cricket Board. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  19. ^ "Performance Zone web site". Archived from the original on 13 August 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
  20. ^ "Official web site of Gary Kirsten". Retrieved 20 December 2010.
Sporting positions
Preceded by Head coach of Indian national cricket team
Succeeded by