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Gary Kirsten (born 23 November 1967) is a former South African cricketer, and the World Cup winning coach of the Indian cricket team. He has 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 Cricket World Cup in 1992.
Gary Kirsten in 2009
|Full name||Gary Kirsten|
|Born||23 November 1967|
Cape Town, Cape Province, South Africa
|Bowling||Right-arm off break|
|Relations||Paul Kirsten (brother)|
Peter Kirsten (half-brother)
|Test debut (cap 257)||26 December 1993 v Australia|
|Last Test||30 March 2004 v New Zealand|
|ODI debut (cap 28)||14 December 1993 v Australia|
|Last ODI||3 March 2003 v Sri Lanka|
|ODI shirt no.||1|
|Domestic team information|
Source: Cricinfo, 28 December 2009
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, he 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, much like Steve Waugh and Justin Langer. 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. 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 highest innings of all time in One Day International cricket, and the 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.
After retirement, Kirsten organized his own cricket academy. In November 2007, it emerged that Kirsten was a candidate for the vacant post of coach of the India team. The BCCI offered him a two-year contract for the post, and despite voicing reservations about concerns he had about having the full support of India players, he confirmed he would be taking the job on 4 December.
He officially started as 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, 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.
Gary 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."
In 2017, Kirsten spoke to HBR about the qualities of a great coach, coaching a young team, and learning from one’s mistakes. Here are some edited excerpts of his interview on Harvard Business Review Ascend.
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 wife and said 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.
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. During the celebration, he was carried around the ground by Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan and Virat Kohli to show their respect.
Gary Kirsten cleared the air of any rumours about a renewal in contract by adopting a modest approach on his further availability as coach to the Indian team by stating that he wanted to say goodbye to India to spend time with his family.
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 remains as the Test side captain. Kirsten began his term as 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.
He did not renew his contract with Cricket South Africa (CSA) and has step down as the coach of the national team in August 2013 citing family commitments. He has been signed as the head coach of the Bangalore-based IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore for a three-year contract beginning from the IPL's Eleventh edition. On 3/4/2017 Gary was announced as coach of the Hobart Hurricanes Twenty20 side for the next two seasons in the Australian Big Bash league from the 2017/18 season.
Hobart Hurricanes (2017–present)Edit
Royal Challengers Bangalore (2017–present)Edit
In January 2018, Royal Challengers Bangalore appointed Kirsten as their batting coach. 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 .
In 2007, Kirsten joined Paddy Upton and Dale Williams to form a company called Performance Zone. 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 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, is the creation of garykirsten.com.
- "Kirsten has stepped down as South African cricket coach". Wisden India. 10 May 2013.
- "Cricinfo". Cricinfo. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
- "Cricinfo". Cricinfo. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
- "Kirsten keen on mental skills coach". Cricket.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
- "Gary Kirsten Lined Up As New India Coach". Cricketworld.com. 27 November 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
- "Kirsten Seeks Assurances Before Taking Over India Job". Cricketworld.com. 3 December 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
- "Kirsten Signs Two-Year Deal To Coach India". Cricketworld.com. 4 December 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
- "Kirsten won't renew India contract after World Cup". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
- "Nehra and Kirsten join RCB coaching staff". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- "Gary Kirsten replaces Daniel Vettori as RCB head coach". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
- "Performance Zone web site". Performancezone.co.za. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
- "Official web site of Gary Kirsten". Garykirsten.com. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
| Head coach of Indian national cricket team