‘Coaches don’t win you matches, players do’, goes the word of wisdom. But lets not forget one man’s contribution to the India’s lifting of the world cup after twenty eight long and tedious years.
Taking over the coaching of the Indian team during turbulent times and then moulding it into an invincible unit by sheer motivational training in just three years has not only earned Gary Kirsten due recognition but also put many unsettled questions to rest. Most importantly when a former Australian great Greg Chappell fell out with the skipper and the team and packed his bags under bitter circumstances in a classic showdown that witnessed magnanimous exchange of vocabulary and accusations from both ends, the efficacy of foreign coaches in regional context was widely questioned. It was in those adverse conditions and controversy that Gary accepted the challenge to work in an alien world and environment.
India and its cricket with all its geographical vastness and cultural diversity was all ripe to present every possible shock and challenge to a man on threshold of discovering wide regional, religious, traditional and ethical spheres within a whole. The team representing a rich mix emerges from a background comprising dozens of languages, having entirely different habits, preferences, approach and way of doing things. It was under those conditions that the man took to his job, not only acclimatized himself but just during a brief stint of three years, delivered and accomplished what none other could achieve for India during his tenure.
In their own turn, looks like the Indian lads took his every advice to heart including indulging in fervent sex ( not between themselves ) before the match to stimulate flow of their hormones and testosterone yielding aggression and spirit in the field defying and thus trampling the solemn lessons of celibacy preached ardently by the fatherly figure of Mahatma Gandhi for decades.
Perhaps what makes Gary unique is his motivational approach. Knowing the potential and capabilities of his players apparently, he knew how to extract the best out of them individually and more importantly to gel them together into a formidable unit with full faith in themselves. That is the reason that even the cricketing giants like Sehwag and Tendulkar are all praise for the man and have been drumming about the difference he has made to their game and the Indian cricket. Going through a depressing phase, from a low, when he was even left out of the squad for a few games to the ultimate surge where he emerged as the man of the tournament, Yuvraj Singh acknowledges his coach’s contribution in his achievement. Even a senior and accomplished player like Yuvraj considers Gary a parental figure.
Coaching a star studded rainbow of players with huge egos boasting of enviable and extravagant records takes all one could possibly imagine. In all probability, it was South African’s humble and intelligent handling, seamless communication and overwhelming commitment that helped him sail across the seas and deliver perhaps more than what he was expected to.
With a job well done, while the man is all set to return to his homeland and family to possibly accept a similar assignment for his native country or some Australian teams as the press reports reveal, lets give the man his due credit who has stamped his mark on the history of the game.
Taking nothing away from Indian team and their well deserved victory, WELL DONE Gary Kirsten!!!