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'Kirsten driving India forward'

Team India coach Gary Kirsten's calmness in the dressing room was working wonders for the team, skipper MS Dhoni said.

cricket Updated: Nov 14, 2008 15:28 IST
Sanjay Rajan

Indian coach Gary Kirsten's calmness in the dressing room was working wonders for the team, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said on Thursday.

"He's not one of the guys, if we lose two or three wickets in a session, is in a panic, drinking plenty of water, moving here and there," he said.

"He's a calm and cool guy. It helps in making the dressing room atmosphere calm and cool.

"He's been great so far, and hopefully he'll be the same in the future," he told a news conference.

A buoyant India begin a seven-game one-day series against England from Friday after a comprehensive 2-0 home Test series win over Australia this week, their first over the world champion side for seven years.

Dhoni praised the former South Africa opening batsmen for motivating the players while staying firmly behind the scenes.

"Whatever coaches I have gone through, he is very different," the wicketkeeper said.

"He gives plenty of confidence to the players. He's a great motivator and hits at the right moment, and in the right areas.

"That's very important, to be focussed and speak on the areas where it is really needed."

Kirsten took over in February after a period of turmoil which followed a shock first round World Cup exit in 2007 and the subsequent resignation of Greg Chappell, ending the former Australian skipper's eventful two-year term.

He began with a drawn home Test series against native South Africa. India then recorded their first-ever one-day series win in Sri Lanka.

Against Australia, India fielded sharply and appeared to execute their plans smoothly.

"We've improved our fielding, we're trying to improve our running between the wickets," Dhoni said.

Kirsten also faces a big challenge, overseeing the team's transformation with many stalwarts in the twilight of their careers.

Spinner Anil Kumble, Test cricket's third most successful bowler with a tally of 619, and former skipper Saurav Ganguly retired with the Australia series.