Kirsten to leave early for S Africa | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Kirsten to leave early for S Africa

It sees that the BCCI is in fact way too serious about the team winning its maiden series in South Africa. That's the prime reason for coach Gary Kirsten being told to skip the last two New Zealand ODIs and join the bunch of the seniors on board to his homeland. Amol Karhadkar reports.

cricket Updated: Nov 27, 2010 00:29 IST
Amol Karhadkar

Having decided to send most of the key players early to South Africa to get acclimatised ahead of the series that is being billed as the Final Frontier for the Indian team, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had anyway indicated their apathy towards the coming five-match One-day international series at home against New Zealand.

It sees that the Board is in fact way too serious about the team winning its maiden series in South Africa.

That's the prime reason for coach Gary Kirsten being told to skip the last two New Zealand ODIs and join the bunch of the seniors on board to his homeland.

"Kirsten will go early to South Africa along with the seniors and help them get used to the conditions," a top BCCI official told the Hindustan Times on Thursday.

"As a result, bowling coach Eric Simons will take charge for the last two one-dayers against New Zealand."

Kirsten, it was learnt, will leave for Cape Town — where the seniors will train — on December 6 along with seven members of the Test squad. The players are Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Cheteshwar Pujara, Jaidev Unadkat and Umesh Yadav.

Harbhajan Singh and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will leave for the African safari on December 8 ahead of the first Test, starting in Centurion on December 16.

The duo may have Suresh Raina for company, if the selectors decide to rest him for the last two, if not three, one-dayers.

Gautam Gambhir, who will lead the team in Dhoni's absence for the first two ODIs, however, will not be as lucky as Raina as he is set to be retained as captain for the whole series. The southpaw will board a flight to South Africa along with the rest of the squad members on December 12.