17 March 2008

The Unknown Ascension

The Indian cricket season rolls on. After the Australians, its South Africa which will do battle with the Indians. After the wide-spread buffet on offer in Australia, the battle with the Proteas look less appealing. But, for one man, this could prove to be the most important series yet.

I do not mean Yuvraj and his perennial quest to be a permanent fix in world cricket's most formidable middle order. Nor is this about Harbhajan and his tryst at becoming Kumble's designated successor. This write-up is about an opener who has been successful for his country.
I am talking about Gary Kirsten, that fine South African opener, who begins his journey as India' s coach against his own nation.

Gary Kirsten was one of cricket's unsung heroes. He was probably the most consistent cricketer of the Cronje era. The true value of Kirsten can be gleaned by the number of match saving innings he played as an opener. But, the sad fact about Kirsten was that his feats were more underrated than acknowledged. People were more prone to talk about Kallis and Cronje, about Pollock and Donald. They discussed Rhodes and Cullinan more than Kirsten.

But, it is this very quality which could lead Kirsten to success in his new job. Team India doesn't need a charismatic manager. With the kind of star power resident in the team, what they need is a back room engineer who will be more a guidance and a sounding board than a aggressive dictator. Having played with Ganguly, Tendulkar, Kumble, Dravid and Laxman, Kirsten shouldn't have any issues in jelling with the team. Hopefully, Kirsten becomes the next John Wright as far as Indian cricket is concerned.

Here is a word of prayer and a round of applause as the Unsung hero assumes the high profile job of Indian cricket.

8 comments:

John said...

Gary Kirsten was never as talented as any of the Indian batsmen in the team - which will be his biggest virtue. Maybe we should start playing with words and call him 'manager' and not 'coach'

TM said...

I dont know how successful the John Wright tenure was - what i think will work in India's favour is that Kumble and Kirsten are alike in their grit, lack of hero status and sheer quality. With both understanding the subtleties that are missed often by some of the best, the fast bowling line up ballooning, the middle order more or less in form and a decent enough fiediling uint, maybe this is going to be India's most successful combination yet. Somehow, I can just see those two get along like a house on fire - it is the one thing left for Kumble to do before he retires- to leave the legacy of a great team!

Sajith said...

The John Wright era was successful in ensuring that India were consistently competitive abroad for the first time since the 1970s.
I agree with John that "manager" is more suited than coach for Gary Kirsten.

TM said...

"Manager more than coach"

We should stop stating the obvious - at this level it is only about management, for by this time, surely cricketers have been coached all they need to be. Maybe, some skills will be honed, but it is not coaching as a layman will understand it. Everyone at this level is a manager, a strategist if you prefer...

Sajith said...

Agreed. Absolutely correct that the term coach is far fetched at the highest level.
Kirsten could prove success story if he is willing to adapt to the spot of a manager as well as he did to ODIs.

John said...

TM, The problem was that Gregory Chappel saw himself as more of a coach.

Sajith said...

The problem with Greg Chappel was that he saw himself more as the strict Head master and not a manager.

scorpicity said...

Let's hope so... if this doesn't work, perhaps the concept of coach can be junked for good.