Gary Kirsten became the head coach of the Indian cricket team in early 2008. He was only the third overseas coach which India had. One of them was John Wright, under whom Indian cricket reached several heights. However, it was the period of Greg Chappell between 2005 and 2007 which hurt Indians a lot. The spirit of the team was gone and no player came out of the Chappell’s reign praising him.
Kirsten was fairly young when he was named the Indian coach. In fact, he had played cricket against Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and many others. In a recent interview, Kirsten revealed that Tendulkar had planned to leave the game when he became the coach in 2008.
All I did was facilitate an environment for him to thrive: Gary Kirsten on Sachin Tendulkar
Speaking on Talk sports’ Following On podcast, Kirsten said, “If I think of Sachin Tendulkar at that time, where he was when I arrived in India … he wanted to give up the game. According to him, he was batting out of position, he wasn’t enjoying his cricket at all. Three years later, he scores 18 international hundreds in three years, goes back to batting where he wants to bat, and we win the World Cup.”
Tendulkar had some injury issues between 2005 and 2007. In 2007, he was fit again but he wasn’t at his former best. In that, he had failed to score a century after the World Cup and had got out in the 90s several times. Moreover, going into the World Cup 2007, he was given the role of batting at no.4 in ODIs.
Tendulkar as we all know enjoyed batting at the top of the order. In fact, India played their best cricket when the Mumbaikar opened the innings. Between 2008 and 2011, Tendulkar was at his destructive best and played some superb knocks during that period.
Reflecting upon his journey as a coach with the Indian side, Gary said that he had a great time with Tendulkar. The former Indian coach talked about the importance of building an atmosphere which makes it easy for players to perform properly.
“I ended up having a great coaching journey with him and that, for me, is where the essence of coaching is now, certainly modern coaching. You’re actually facilitating people’s ability to be the best version of themselves. All I did was facilitate an environment for him to thrive. I didn’t tell him (Sachin Tendulkar) anything. He knew the game, but what he did need was an environment – not only him, all of them – an environment set up where they could be the best version of themselves,” Kirsten added.
The ex-South African batsman coached the Indian team between 2008 and 2011. Under him, India won the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011 and also was ranked as the No.1 Test side for a significant period of time.
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