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Only formalities left

Former South Africa opening batsman Gary Kirsten is almost certain to be announced as coach, a position vacant for over seven months after Greg Chappell backed out, report Amol Karhadkar & K Kumaraswamy.

cricket Updated: Nov 28, 2007 00:19 IST

The Indian team is set to have a new coach. Former South Africa opening batsman Gary Kirsten is almost certain to be announced as coach, a position vacant for over seven months after Greg Chappell backed out following India's World Cup debacle.

The 40-year-old southpaw, who took up coaching after retiring from international cricket in March, 2004, was secretly interviewed by a special BCCI panel in a New Delhi hotel late on Monday night.

Confirming that top board officials and Test skipper Anil Kumble had a "healthy discussion" with Kirsten, BCCI chief administrative officer Prof Ratnakar Shetty told the Hindustan Times that Kirsten had been "offered a two-year contract.

"We have offered him a copy of the contract," said Shetty. "He will let us know whether he's joining us or not latest by Monday (December 3)."

Shetty said the panel had discussed all relevant issues with Kirsten. "We explained various aspects related to the job of the Indian team's coach to him."

Another board official, on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Kirsten had "mutually agreed" to take up the high-pressure job. "Only the formal announcement needs to be made now," he said.

"But the board is just being cautious after the Graham Ford drama." Ford, another South African, had turned down the job after being announced as the Indian team's coach in June.

Some sources say a formal announcement is expected on December 1 and Kirsten will land in India on December 3, two days ahead of India's team selection for the gruelling tour to Australia.