Former South African opener and India’s World Cup-winning coach Gary Kirsten has expressed concern over the diminishing crowds in Test cricket outside England and Australia. Kirsten, who was in New Delhi to scout for local talent for his upcoming cricket academy, indicated that Test cricket is facing an impending crisis due to the popularity of the shortest format of the game, especially with the younger generation.
“I enjoy T20 cricket and it really appeals to the younger generation. It’s very entertaining, my kids enjoy watching T20 cricket more than anything else. But Test cricket will always be there. It’s the purest form of the game, people who have grown with Test cricket will always love it. But the only concern I have with Test cricket is outside of England and Australia, the crowds are waning,” the 50-year-old said.
Kirsten is currently working as an assistant coach with Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). However, RCB’s fortunes in season 11 of the IPL have not been up to the mark and has left a lot to be desired. Refusing to look too much into it, Kirsten said, “It’s my first year with the team, I have really enjoyed the time with the team. It’s very different coaching a franchise team and an international team, but I am not the head coach of the RCB, I am just an assistant coach. So for me to come and assist the team is something which I really enjoyed.”
Recalling his playing career Kirsten revealed the best bowler he ever faced was former Australian pace spearhead, Glenn McGrath. “Glenn McGrath was the best bowler I ever faced and my favourite batsman was Brian Lara,” he said.
Meanwhile, the one-day talent scout conducted by Gary Kirsten cricket resulted in the selection of six promising candidates for further training. It was overseen by Gary Kirsten and his team of assistant coaches. This is the 3rd of the nation-wide talent scout planned by Gary Kirsten Cricket in the months of April and May.
Six players from each city will be invited to Pune for a weekend training programme in July at the newly launched Gary Kirsten Cricket Academy. Following this, 3 players out of the 36, will be given a scholarship for a 2-month residential High-Performance Camp worth Rs 2 lakhs each. Kirsten will be exchanging notes with his team on the progress the young players would make and will also be an intrinsic part of the High-Performance Camp.
Harnessing young talent from various parts of the country will not be an easy task. Speaking about the challenges associated with it Kirsten said, “It excites me to see all the amazing young talent coming through and I suppose the difficult part is to narrow it down to players we believe are on another level.”
“This is very much an initial project to see what talent is out there and we will have further programs running that connect with all players in Pune and the surrounds,” he signed off by saying.