Gary Kirsten has been a successful national team coach and addressed crucial matters head-on! He took over as India team coach after their tumultuous run with Greg Chappell and helped the side rekindle as an unit. It was under his supervision that India lifted the World Cup after 27 years.
Following his stint with India, Kirsten was named as the coach of South Africa, with his first major decision coming as Graeme Smith as the captain with AB de Villiers. He also tried to address the choking tag put on South Africa for their inability to win big matches in ICC events but it backfired on him.
Gary Kirsten: I told team unless we address choking, we will not move forward
South Africa infamously choked in the 2013 Champions Trophy semi-final against England. The Proteas were bundled out for 175 runs in the first semi-final and England chased down the target with 12 overs to spare. Gary Kirsten tried to address the ‘choking’ issue before the Champions Trophy semi-final but he was met with resistance from some players.
“Prior to that [Champions Trophy] semi-final, we spoke into that space,” Kirsten told the Following On Cricket Podcast.
“We were open and direct about the challenges that we got in these big games, to the point where I stood up and said to the team, ‘Unless we actually acknowledge that we’re actually choking, we’re not going to move forward as a group’. And I was met with … not resistance in a tangible way, but I could see there was resistance, people were scared to go there,” he added.
The rainbow nation has still not won the World Cup since its inception in 1975.