Gary Kirsten set the benchmark for India coaches. Under him, India held the No.1 rank in Test cricket and won the 2011 World Cup at home.
So, coming from him one has to take note. The South African dismissed any suggestion that it is time MS Dhoni stepped down as limited-overs captain.
“He’s the best leader I’ve worked with. His record over the past 9-10 years speaks for itself. There’s no debating that he’s up there with India’s greatest captains. If anyone doubts his ability, he’s doing a grave mistake.”
Brushing aside speculation that it was time for Dhoni to hand over the baton to Virat Kohli, Kirsten said: “You replace MS Dhoni at your peril. All great leaders have great performances within them till the end of their careers. If you’re willing to let Dhoni go, and you know he might have a great World Cup performance left in him, you take the risk of doing it. There obviously comes a time when every great player should think whether it’s time to move on but I’m going to leave that decision up to him. I think every organisation should have a succession plan for leadership and for positions.”
After parting ways with the India team, Kirsten guided South Africa to the top of the ICC Test rankings in 2012. Asked if (current coach) Anil Kumble can replicate the success the team had enjoyed under him, Kirsten said: “Anil is a great person. I didn’t work with him for too long but I saw the amount of respect he drew naturally from the players. It’s good to see an Indian as the coach of the national team. He has had immediate success, which is not surprising. I have no doubt he has the necessary credentials with Virat as the team’s leader, and MS in the white-ball format, to take the team forward and have great success.”
Kirsten lauded the BCCI’s decision to use the DRS (decision referral system) on a trial basis in the Test series against England, stating every team should adopt the technology.
“If they’re going to try it, it’s going to be brilliant. It’s a great technology and it just got better and better. It’ll be great for every Test-playing country to be using it,” Kirsten said.
India avoided the DRS for long with many claiming the ball-tracking technology wasn’t foolproof. Two weeks back, ICC general manager Geoff Allardice made a presentation in Delhi, which was attended by Kumble, and it seems to have impressed the Indian Board.
Kirsten, who played 101 Tests, shared his concerns over the longest format and thanked the ICC for its efforts to promote it. “The ICC is trying everything they can to create innovation in Test cricket and come up with ways to keep it entertaining and exciting,” he said.
“But I do agree the format is under threat. I live in Cape Town and I know that night cricket would be well supported. We need to look at ways to keep the game alive.”