Once upon a time, the Sachin Tendulkar-led India would scratch their heads seeing Gary Kirsten walk in to bat. His grit swung many a games in South Africa’s way. He had amassed 307 runs at 51.16 in the Titan Cup in 1996. Tendulkar was the only man above him with 320 runs at 53.33. South Africa dominated the tournament but finished runners-up to India. Kirsten and Tendulkar contested many memorable battles on field but a decade later, things changed with the former entering the Indian dressing room as the head coach.

India had a dream run under Kirsten. It was under the South African’s tutelage India scaled to the No. 1 spot in ICC Test Rankings in 2009. The Kirsten-coached Team India, under the captaincy of MS Dhoni went on to the lift the 2011 World Cup. It was also during this phase when Tendulkar hit a dream run with the bat at the turn of arrival of the new decade.

Indian cricketers share a great bond with their former coach. Thursday marked Kirsten’s 50 birthday and on the occasion, Tendulkar lauded the South African southpaw with praises, “We’ve had some good laughs over the years, @Gary_Kirsten. You’ve been a fantastic coach who has inspired and supported us when we needed it most. More importantly, you’ve been a good friend. #HappyBirthday”


Suresh Raina also took to Twitter to wish Kirsten.


Kambli vs Kirsten

On this occasion, Vinod Kambli shared an interesting story about the left-hander. Kambli was never known for his bowling. But Kirsten happens to be one of his 10 First-Class wickets. Kambli tweeted:


Like Kambli mentions, he has played for Boland in South Africa’s domestic cricket. Western Province took on Boland in the SuperSport Series in 2002-03 season. Western Province were 278 for one with Kirsten batting on 121. Boland skipper Henry Williams had tried many options and Kambli’s off-spin was the sixth bowling option.

As claimed by Kambli, he got Kirsten out off a full-toss as Con de Lange took the catch. Kambli scored 68 and 27 in the game but Boland lost to Western Province by an innings and 20 runs.