x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Indians will miss Gary Kirsten

For much of the last three years, a time of unprecedented success for India in the Test arena, Gary Kirsten has been the gentle guiding hand in the background.

MS Dhoni isn't usually one to get carried away, in victory or defeat. So when, during the Test series against South Africa, he referred to Gary Kirsten, the coach, as the "one of the best things to happen to Indian cricket", it made people sit up and take notice.

For much of the last three years, a time of unprecedented success for India in the Test arena, Kirsten has been the gentle guiding hand in the background, steering clear of the media and focused instead on things like setting Sachin Tendulkar challenges.

It was clear from the way Dhoni spoke about Kirsten that India don't expect him to continue in the job after the World Cup in February.

With India's season now lasting nearly the full year, the coaching job is not for someone with a young family, and as happy as Kirsten has been behind the scenes, there has been enough time spent away from home.

It will be intriguing to see just who the Indian cricket board shortlists to replace him. It is no coincidence that Kirsten and John Wright, the New Zealander at the helm between 2000 and 2005, preferred the low-key approach to the job. Greg Chappell's two-year tenure, by contrast, was marked by a love of the spotlight, rancour and chronic insecurity among the playing group.

It is unlikely that such a big name will be appointed again. The board are unlikely to give the job to an Indian - Robin Singh and Venkatesh Prasad were sacked from their posts last year. Whoever gets the job, though, will struggle to fit in as seamlessly as Kirsten has done.

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