Gary Kirsten is one of the most favourite coaches of every cricket fan in India. The South African became the coach of the Indian cricket team in 2007 after a horror 50 over world cup. Kirsten led the Indian team to glory and played an instrumental role in India winning the world cup in 2011. Kirsten recently recalled the events that led him being appointed as the head coach of the Indian team.
The former South African player revealed that he got an e-mail from Sunil Gavaskar in which he asked him whether he considers coaching the Indian team. Kirsten never believed it and thought it was a joke and did not answer the e-mail. Gavaskar who was part of the selection panel in those days later asked Kirsten if he was interested to come for an interview.
It thought it was a hoax: Gary Kirsten
“I got an email from Sunil Gavaskar would I consider coaching the Indian team. I thought it was a hoax and never even answer it. He sent me another email, and said, ‘Will you come for an interview?’. I showed it to the wife, and she said, ‘They must have the wrong person’. So it was a bizarre entry into the whole thing, and rightly so. I mean, I had no coaching experience or anything”, Kirsten said on the ‘Cricket Collective’ podcast.
Kirsten who had no experience in coaching appeared in a meeting consisting of BCCI officials including Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar and Anil Kumble. In the meeting, Shastri broke the ice with an interesting question which made Kirsten comfortable. The former India coach further added that he was able to impress the board members and got the job in just 7 minutes.
Kirsten said, “I went for the interview, it was a bizarre experience in many ways because I kind of arrived at the interview and I see Anil Kumble, who’s the current Indian captain, and he says, ‘What are you doing here?’. I said I have come for an interview to coach you. So we kinda laugh about it. It was quite a laughing matter”.
“I am in this board meeting with these BCCI officials, and it was quite an intimidating environment; the secretary of the board said, Mr Kirsten, would you like to present your vision for the future of Indian Cricket?’, and I said, Well, I don’t have one. No one had asked me to prepare anything for it. I had just arrived there,”
Impressed them in three minutes
He added, “Ravi Shastri, who was on the committee, said to me, Gary tell us, what did you guys as the South African team do to beat the Indians?’. I thought it was a great ice-breaker because I could answer it and I answered it in about two-three minutes without saying strategies that we kind of probably use to this day”.
“He was suitably impressed, as was the rest of the board because three minutes later I had been in at the interview about seven minutes the secretary of the board slides across a contract to me”, Kirsten recalled.
Gary Kirsten went on to become one of the most successful coaches of all time. He was part of some memorable Indian victories during his tenure. Kirsten also coached Royal Challengers Banglore last year in the Indian Premier League.