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Gary Kirsten says he left India coaching job due to family commitments

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Gary Kirsten said that he enjoyed his role as coach of the Indian team © Getty Images

Jan 29, 2014

Former South African player Gary Kirsten said he left the India coaching job due to family commitments. Kirsten coached India from 2008 to 2011. He helped India to win the ICC World Cup 2011.

In an interview to Times of India, Kirsten said, “I’ve played cricket here through the 1990s and then arrived here in 2008 with not much expectation in my ability to coach the Indian team. But I went on to have three remarkable years.

“I found that the people I came in contact with were warm and gentle. I found absolute love and passion for the game, and it’s a sport that I have played as a three-year-old. Gradually, I began to understand the relationship that India and South Africa have.

“I think India in many ways is similar to South Africa. The challenges that India has are possibly similar in many ways to that of South Africa. It is a beautiful country, but it has got challenges.

“What really endeared me to India is that you have an opportunity here to add some value to make a difference to people’s lives, even it is in the lives of just one or two young cricketers trying to make a way and I was just giving an input, and you can actually make a difference to someone’s life that way,” said Kirsten.

When queried about whether he expected guiding India to the World Cup title in 2011, Kirsten said, “No, I didn’t, to be very honest. And I didn’t really expect it. I know I was coaching a good team, I knew I had a very special captain in MS Dhoni, our relationship became stronger and stronger over the years that I have worked with him.

“But like any team that has challenges, this team had challenges too. I think what we tried to do was put things in place and build consistency. In both formats of Test and One-Day International (ODI), team India became the No 1 team and then, we won the World Cup. What excited me about the win was the processes that we put in place that brought us success.

“I think you got to be realistic about your goals. I inherited a team that was good, but it wasn’t winning anything. I came in with a blank sheet, I had no reference points. So it was really how to make everything fall in place. We wanted a team that does not just limit it to being called good, but also wins games and shows results,” added Kirsten on questions of him inheriting a talented India side.

When asked about why he left the India coaching job after the World Cup victory, he replied, “It was family. I made a commitment to my family that I wouldn’t be away for more than three years. I needed to honour that commitment. When I coached India, I was away from home, and it was a mess of a sacrifice for my family.

“I have a 10-year-old son, a six-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter. The sons are certainly into cricket, they enjoy it a lot. But they are free to be what they want to be when they grow up. They don’t have to necessarily become cricketers,” added Kirsten on his children who are interested in playing cricket.

Kirsten also denied taking up a coaching role with the Indian team once again in the near future. “Not at this stage in my life. It’s not appropriate right now because international coaching takes you away from home for long. Whatever I am into currently [with an  Indian Premier League (IPL) team] does not take much of my time. So it suits my needs and my family’s needs.

“I don’t want to be away from home too much. My priority at the moment is to at least have 70 per cent of the year at home,” he concluded.

Kirsten is the coach of the Delhi Daredevils for IPL 2014.

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