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Kirsten confirms it’s farewell to India after World Cup

This is the end for me,the World Cup. It has been great memories of last three years,Kirsten said.

Written by Aditya Iyer |
February 12, 2011 12:18:56 am

After months of speculation about his future with the Indian team,Gary Kirsten put an end to all doubts on Thursday night,announcing the World Cup will be his final assignment as Team India coach.

“This is a fantastic bunch of guys,and I have enjoyed every one of them. This is the end for me,the World Cup. It has been great memories of the last three years and I have enjoyed every moment,” Kirsten said during an awards show.

Though Kirsten didn’t give reasons for discontinuing with a side he helped to the top of the Test rankings in his three-year period,Peter Kirsten,Gary’s elder brother,told The Indian Express that he didn’t extend his contract — that expires at the end of the quadrennial event — due to family commitments.

“We chatted about it a bit recently. Joshua (Kirsten’s son) is a growing child and needs his father’s presence and attention. It has been a very hard decision for Gary,one he had to seriously contemplate for a while. But he has taken his decision and we will always be there to support him,” said the former South Africa batsman.

While the third and final Test in Cape Town during India’s historic tour of South Africa will be remembered as the 43-year old’s last white-flannelled assignment with the team,the duration of his stay in ODIs will depend on how far the team progresses in the World Cup — a maximum of nine more matches. “It was an incredible privilege to work with these players and to be given an opportunity to work with the Indian team,” Kirsten said last night.

The admiration between the coach and his wards is mutual. From the seniors pros to the fresh-faced newcomers,Kirsten has received nothing but praise and applause for restructuring a failing side following Greg Chappell’s exit.

“A lot of credit for our resurgence must go to Gary,” Dhoni had said in Cape Town following their first drawn Test series on SA soil. “He’s been part of the team for the last three years. Joshua is growing and James (Kirsten’s second son) is a young kid too,which means Gary will want to spend time with family.”

With family taking priority for the former South African opener,the real challenge for India is to find a coach of Kirsten’s calibre,and quickly — before India’s tour to England later this year.

Peter agrees. “Gary has left behind a great legacy and it will be hard to fill his shoes. But so did John (Wright) when he left the set-up. John and Gary have been of similar ilk,and the key to a smooth transition for India will be to find somebody with a similar mindset. Someone the players can get along with gloriously.” Just like his brother.

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