This particular Indian team now is starting to find that they are quite enjoying the habit of winning - Kirsten
Gary Kirsten commands the kind of respect few Indian coaches did in the past. Manning the cricket team is a lot tougher job than handling finance ministry in India. Mr. Pranab Mukherjee might agree to this. However, the South African maverick has managed to perform his duties with maximum ease and greater results. His departure after the 2011 World Cup is inevitable as Gary wants to spend time with his family back in South Africa. Fair enough!
Since joining the Indian camp in 2007-08, the former Proteas opener helped the team to achieve the elusive number one position in Test cricket. You can still argue Gary got the best of the Indian team for the desired result.
He didn't come with a plan. He offered what worked for the Indians. And yeah...he lacked the Chappell-like love-affair with spotlight - much to the benefit of the playing group.
I remember Sehwag singing praise that, "It was Gary who gave me tremendous confidence. He told me, you are such a talented player. Even if you are out for three ducks, you will be there in the team. You should not put yourself under pressure. He asked me to play freely." Kirsten didn't do anything extraordinary, just brought the best out of the players.
Gary did with Sehwag what Sir Alex Ferguson did with Wayne Rooney - give them the licence to kill and they were on a killing spree. He did better than anyone else. More than a coach, Gary is a technically superior strategist who doesn't pause to innovate. Importantly he is not old school.
After Chappell, we needed a coach not a player or a manager to mind the team and Kirsten simply brought out the talent - which was already there. Like form...consistency has always been our major problem and loosing Gary will just add to it.
So, who will be next?
It appears that former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming, who is also working with MS Dhoni at Chennai Super Kings, may succeed Gary Kirsten. Fleming has been with CSK from the very beginning - first as their opener and later their coach. He shares a very good relationship with Dhoni and importantly N Srinivasan - who will be heading the BCCI in some time.
Like Gary, Stephen is also very pragmatic in his approach and Chennai winning the third edition of the IPL speaks aloud in his CV. Another name that comes up with great promise is Andy Flower. He is 'the one' responsible for England's resurgence.
I don't mind either of them taking the baton from Gary. Who do you think should make it to the Indian dressing room?