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Kirsten checks in...

When India take on Australia in Melbourne's Boxing Day Test next month, in what is likely to be the most-followed cricket series on the planet, they might have the advantage of a coach who made his own debut there.

cricket Updated: Nov 28, 2007 00:15 IST
Kirsten checks in...

When India take on Australia in Melbourne's Boxing Day Test next month, in what is likely to be the most-followed cricket series on the planet, they might have the advantage of a coach who made his own debut there, in 1993.

At this point of time, while there is some confusion over whether Gary Kirsten will actually be with the Indian team when it travels to Australia, there seems little doubt that the former South African opener is almost certain to be India's next coach, if some niggles can be worked out.

Talking from New Delhi on Tuesday morning, a day after he met with senior BCCI officials, Kirsten said he was pretty happy about how things had panned out. "The interview went well," he said, but added, "I haven't signed anything yet".

There are family and other commitments he needs to sort out at home before he can make the move to India but he is hopeful that will all be resolved quickly. "I am very interested, otherwise, I would not have come all the way here," said Kirsten.

The man who might now be Guru Gary (in place of Guru Greg) incidentally, has never been officially in charge of a team, although he was South Africa's batting coach after his retirement in 2004 and has been a high-performance manager with Cricket South Africa.

But he said the lack of experience did not worry him. "It is not really a concern, and I am pretty confident about managing things," he said. "I have lately been involved with the Warriors (the Eastern Cape franchise team based in Port Elizabeth/East London) and have been part of a team environment as their batting consultant." This two-year contract with the Warriors, by the way, is one of the things he will have to settle. He has only been involved for one season so far.

Having said that, Kirsten, by virtue of the respect gained by his own exemplary record, his having played against many of the players who could be his new wards, his sensible temperament and ability to maintain a low profile, may be just what the doctor ordered for India.

(The writer is a senior cricket correspondent with South Africa's Volsblad daily)