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Former Indian Head Coach Gary Kirsten, who played a very crucial role to help the Indian national cricket team to reach the top of the international cricket, including winning the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, recently revealed how he earned that coaching role.
Gary Kirsten was one of the successful South African cricketers who served for his national team from 1993 to 2004. He played 101 Tests and 185 ODIs where the left-handed batsman scored 7289 runs (average 45.27) and 6798 runs (average 40.95) respectively.
Kirsten, who had no coaching experiences before becoming the Head Coach of the Indian national cricket team in 2008, suddenly got an email from Sunil Gavaskar, one of the members in that coach selection panel, to come for the coaching interview. The former Proteas cricketer couldn’t believe that email as he felt that it was a hoax or they had mistakenly sent to him.
Kirsten recalled it on the ‘Cricket Collective’ podcast, “I got an email from Sunil Gavaskar – would I consider coaching the Indian team. I thought it was a hoax. I never even answer it. He sent me another email, and said, ‘Will you come for an interview?’.”
He further added, “I showed it to the wife, and she said, ‘They must have the wrong person’. So it was a bizarre entry into the whole thing, and rightly so. I mean, I had no coaching experience or anything.”
When Kirsten arrived at the interview, he met with then Indian Test captain Anil Kumble. They had a friendly laugh after Kirsten clarified him the reason for his presence.
Kirsten claimed, “I went for the interview, it was a bizarre experience in many ways because I kind of arrived at the interview and I see Anil Kumble, who’s the current Indian captain, and he says, ‘What are you doing here?’. I said, ‘I have come for an interview to coach you!’ So we kinda laugh about it. It was quite a laughing matter.”
Gary Kirsten revealed what questions were asked in that interview process
In the interview process, Kirsten was asked a simple question, but he wasn’t prepared for that as he had no clue about the preparation for that interview.
He added, ”I am in this board meeting with these BCCI officials, and it was quite an intimidating environment; the secretary of the board said, ‘Mr. Kirsten, would you like to present your vision for the future of Indian Cricket?’, and I said, Well, I don’t have one. No one had asked me to prepare anything for it. I had just arrived there.”
Then another selection committee member, Ravi Shastri, who is the present Head Coach of the Indian team, asked Kirsten another question.
Kirsten continued, “Ravi Shastri, who was on the committee, said to me, ‘Gary, tell us, what did you guys as the South African team do to beat the Indians?’.”
Shastri and the other members were impressed with Kirsten’s confident answer as soon he was offered that coaching contract.
Kirsten claimed, “He was suitably impressed, as was the rest of the board, because three minutes later — I had been in the interview about seven minutes — the secretary of the board slides across a contract to me.”
Then Kirsten opened up that the previous Indian Head Coach Greg Chappell‘s name was on that contract paper, which was cleared soon.
Kirsten revealed, “I pick up the contract, and the first page, I am looking for my name frantically, and I can’t see my name, but I see Greg Chappell’s name, who was the previous coach. So I slide the contract back and I say, ‘Sir, I think you have given me your previous coach’s contract. He kind of looks at it a little bit perturbed, and takes out a pen from his pocket, scratches out his (Chappell) name and writes my name on it.”
Gary Kirsten continued his coaching for the Indian team till the end of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. Surely, it was a great story in Indian cricket during Kirsten’s coaching for the national team.