T20 World Cup: Will Pakistan benefit from the Gary Kirsten impact? | Cricket News

Gary Kirsten delivered the goods for India and Gujarat Titans in the IPL. As Pakistan‘s white-ball coach, another interesting challenge awaits him
Man-of-the-tournament in the 2011 World Cup Yuvraj Singh labels him the best coach he’s ever played under. Other members of that victorious campaign like Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh also speak glowingly about his man management skills.
Former South African opener Gary Kirsten holds a special place in the hearts of Indian cricket fans as Guru Gary for the calm way he operated in the background for three years (2008-2011) after a turbulent two-year phase under Greg Chappell.
After a successful stint with Gujarat Titans in the IPL where he acted as mentor and batting coach, Kirsten will be plying his trade with Pakistan as the country’s white-ball coach.

India take on Pakistan on June 9 in the T20 World Cup in New York’s Nassau County Ground and Kirsten, who will be in the green dug out, could be carrying some trade secrets about the Indian players which the Pakistan team can exploit.
Or would he? Noted mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton, who worked with the Indian team as part of Kirsten’s support staff doesn’t think so. “These days video analysis and data on all players is detailed and well known to all opponents. Most players in the world have a deep and personal insight into players from other teams which they gain from playing in various leagues around the world. Given this extensive and in-depth knowledge that’s already out there, I don’t think there is much ‘insider advantage’ that Kirsten can bring to the India v Pak clash,” Upton told TOI.
Kirsten also worked closely with video analyst Prasanna Agoram for South Africa from 2011 to 2013 and with Delhi Daredevils from 2014 to 2015 and for Agoram it is Kirsten’s man management skills that stand out.
“He is a process-driven coach, not a coach who relies much on matchups and too much confusing data. Unless the performance of a player is coming down drastically, he will just focus on the process driven things where he keeps all boxes ticked. Only if a player is failing for two or three months while making the same mistake, does he step in after seeing the footage and data that I would have given him. But he is someone who builds strong relationships with players,” Agoram told TOI.
Kirsten is also good at avoiding aimless practice. An instance of that can be seen in the Adelaide Test of 2012 vs Australia that Agoram takes us back to.
“He chose the playing XI and used to change the 12th man every day. The 14th and 15th member of the squad had the option of coming to the ground, go out, or just relax in the hotel.”
Dashing former Indian opener Virender Sehwag, who enjoyed a productive second wind to his career under Kirsten, had alluded to this in a chat with reporters about how Kirsten recognised how much practice each player needs.
“The coach should know who needs how much practice. In this the best was Kirsten. He used to give me 50 balls in the nets. Rahul Dravid used to play 200. Sachin Tendulkar 300. Gautam Gambhir 400. After that he told us to go the hotel and relax,” Sehwag had said.
Kirsten though could also talk sternly. During the 2009 T20 World Cup, he told Yuvraj that at 41, he was fitter than the big-hitting left-hander. It struck a chord with the gifted player, and he set about making better off-field choices that culminated in a man-of-the-series performance in the 2011 World Cup.


Referring to the ability of giving players tough love, Upton says, “Gary prefers diplomacy over conflict. He brings a natural calm to the environment, but he is also sufficiently professional to have tough conversations when required. Even these, he has in his uniquely calm way. When it comes to challenging senior players, it’s always important to first develop the trust and relationship.” So, what is the advantage that Kirsten will bring to Pakistan?
“His experience of working in a foreign culture, and the awareness that goes with this. He will do a lot of listening and seek to understand. He will also understand the emotions and fanaticism of fans and the media. He will have developed something of a thick skin, which is very important in this type of environment,” feels Upton.
Agoram too highlights Kirsten’s man management skills and his ability to invest time and energy in a player-coach relationship.
“If he wants to tell Fakhar Zaman, who has opened all his life to bat at no.4, it boils down to trust. If a player trusts his coach, he will say, “Ok, I am game.” Many times, when players are asked to change roles, they say we are not comfortable. But I am sure Gary’s God fatherly love he gives players will help him in such situations. He is an extremely levelheaded coach and does not get excited by wins or disheartened by losses. I have never seen him get angry. Pakistan have made an excellent choice,” Agoram stresses.
Over to Babar’s boys to prove this right.


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