Former India coach Gary Kirsten was on Tuesday appointed chief coach of the Delhi Daredevils for the seventh season of the Indian Premier League.
The 45-year-old South African, who guided the national team to World Cup triumph in 2011 apart from taking the Test side to the No.1 spot, has been roped in to turn the fortunes of one of the most popular franchises in the IPL after their disastrous eighth-place finish in the last season.
However, the support staff will remain intact with Eric Simons now working as an assistant coach alongside his close friend while T A Sekar continues to be the Team Mentor.
Mushtaq Ahmed is also expected to be the spin consultant once again.
“It is indeed a massive privilege to work with the Delhi Daredevils side after having worked with two international sides (India and South Africa). I have always maintained that building a quality side is a process and I am looking forward to taking up this new challenge in franchise cricket,” Kirsten told mediapersons here.
Kirsten admitted that it was through his “old friend” Simons that he was offered the role of chief coach.
“I was recommended by Mr Simons and after having a chat with the owners, I found them to be good people. My job will be to help the boys perform to the best of their abilities. Also having Simons around helps a lot as we go back a long way and complement each other really well.”
“The IPL at this stage of my career is a perfect thing to have happened considering the commitments I have towards my family. They are my priority and devoting three months a year is fine for me,” the soft-spoken gutsy opener of yesteryears explained.
The newly appointed chief coach did admit that a whole lot of thought process needs to go into building a good team as there will be a fresh auction before IPL VII next year.
As a coach, would he like the controversial ‘Player Retention Policy’ to be done away with which might give a chance to re-visit the hit combination of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Gary Kirsten?
To this question, there was a huge grin and he replied, “I am not going to let out any strategies at the moment. That will be between me and the owners. It’s a quick tournament and it is important to carry on with a momentum. Yes, I have some names that I would want in my team having had the knowledge of working in India.
“I will reveal those names to the owners when the time is right. Obviously, T20 demands a certain level of skill sets and I would like to get that in my team also.”
Kirsten did admit that he doesn’t have a magic formula to change Daredevils’ fledgling performance overnight. He feels that it would be unfair if the Daredevils’ fans expect him to work wonders since he has had a successful stint with the Indian team.
“Success should teach one to be humble. Whatever success I have had with the Indian team is not relevant over here. It’s a new start and I need to be as humble as possible. I do have the expertise of a fantastic support staff,” he said.
With so many coaches in the team, is there a chance of clash of ideas? Kirsten gave a pragmatic reply.
“It’s my responsibility. I believe we have a mutual role of information sharing. Obviously, everyone has got a lot of experience in coaching and we can have exchange of ideas before coming to a final decision.”
Team Mentor and noted fast bowling coach, Sekar stated that it was an unanimous decision by the management to appoint Kirsten as the coach after an intense performance review session.
“Gary’s credentials are unquestionable and we are confident that he will take the team to greater heights. The respect that both senior Indian and South African cricketers have for him is immense,” he said.