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Gary Kirtsen on how Pune’s striking passion for cricket made him choose city for his academy

pune Updated: Jul 04, 2018 16:25 IST
Pranav Shahaney
Pranav Shahaney
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Gary Kirtsten,Cricket

Gary Kirsten, former South African cricketer, and coach, announced the launch of his cricket academy in May 4.(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

The man himself, Gary Kirsten, spoke exclusively to Hindustan Times, explaining the decision to pick Pune and what the message he plans to convey through his state-of-the-art academy.

What made you pick Pune for opening the academy, given how it is not one of the pockets for cricketing talent in the country?

First of all, I would think anywhere in India would be brilliant to open an academy as the passion and commitment to the game of cricket in India is unprecedented. We connected with our now business partners a year ago when they flew to Cape Town and met us and they are from Pune. So to start with, we will look to establish a home base in Pune and then expand to different areas around India as things start to grow. The sport has given me so much and to see how much cricket means to the people of Pune, I am excited to see young players will thrive.

How is the academy different from others?

We are here to provide a quality service to young players across India. We have sent one of our head coaches from South Africa to run the project and create the continuity we have built over the years. I will be involved at different stages with the team to help build the academy further. We also have a coach education program, which all our coaches and coaches around India can access to improve and grow further in their coaching.

What are your aims and aspirations behind launching the academy?

When I finished playing, I had a huge desire to give back to the game what it gave me, all while providing a quality service and platform for young players to explore the game of cricket and have fun ultimately.

Being the World Cup winning coach of India, do you think opening an academy under your name would encourage youngsters to pursue the sport professionally?

Not really. The passion for the game of cricket in India is incredible. Even without my name, people are looking for a quality service that will allow them to grow in their games as best as possible. I like to encourage players to first and foremost play the game because they love it. Success isn’t guaranteed, but we will provide a platform which gives unique ideas to players and encourages hard work day in and out doing what they love.

How do you plan to market the academy in the city?

We will have a state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor facility which will enable training throughout the year, which isn’t always possible in India. We have our marketing teams who will use different platforms to share our story and what we are trying to create. We will also be teaming up with clubs and schools to share information and knowledge so that everyone is included.

With the game moving to the shorter format, how difficult do you think it is to encourage test batsmen and bowlers to remain patient and motivated at the same time?

Not that difficult at all. Most of the best T20 players are also the best test players. With so much cricket being played around the world these days, it’s far easier for players to adjust to the different formats. It’s expected of them. It’s so exciting watching players these days execute in different formats and I think the test format will enter a new era with the test championship announced.

First Published: Jul 04, 2018 16:25 IST