The former Indian head coach Gary Kirsten played a big role in India’s triumph in ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 and all the players, including Sachin Tendulkar, gave a lot of credit to ‘Guru Gary’ for his coaching. Gary Kirsten’s contract was not renewed with India after the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, as he wanted to be in South Africa and spend some time with his family.
Recently, in an interview, Gary Kirsten opened up about many things. In an interview he claimed that coaching a national cricket team and a franchise in a league or tournament is totally different things. He believes that coaching is a leadership position that requires a great understanding. Talking about the same, he said:
“Coaches require a variety of skill sets which allow them to have oversight in every segment of running a professional cricket team,”
“This includes season and tournament preparation, man-management, building a team culture, managing relationships, recruitment, contracting, strategy, recruitment and management of support staff, practice and training facilities, media commitments, team logistics, team feedback loops and debriefs, consultants and all other services linked to a high performance professional sports team,”
Further, Gary said that a coach must be able to manage all the different kinds of personalities in the team. He said:
“Every new coach needs support from players who can drive the new culture or way of doing things. This can take time and to win these players over, requires trust, transparency and good connections. We expect too much from coaches in a short time,”
He then shared the difference between coaching a national cricket team and a franchise. He said:
“A national team requires extensive travel because of all the touring which makes it difficult for families. A franchise team coaching job is tough in terms of building a culture and a ‘way of doing things’ in an eight-week tournament, with high expectation on short term results,”
“It is becoming more important to decode, especially in T20 cricket. Every team is looking for a competitive advantage and the more advanced and relevant the data points, the more the coaches will embrace them.
Gary also opened up about his relationship with Paddy Upton, who was serving as the mental health and conditioning coach of the Indian team. He said:
“Paddy was instrumental in this role in my three years with the Indian team,”
“On hindsight, I believe sometimes even the right-hand man can come up with better plans. A strong trusting relationship where a head coach can be challenged and receive frequent meaningful feedback is vital for every team,”