I knew I’ll be back in India: Gary Kirsten

NEW DELHI (TIP): Gary Kirsten is back on Indian soil. On his last day of official duty as India coach back in April 2011, Kirsten had witnessed unprecedented scenes at the Wankhede when MS Dhoni lifted the World Cup. On April 8, the South African began a new relationship with India, this time as coach of Delhi Daredevils. Kirsten got down to business immediately after getting into town as the Daredevils conducted their first practice ahead of their UAE sojourn.

So is life as an IPL coach different for Kirsten? “There are many different things to being an IPL coach. I believe there is lot more intensity to it. But then it’s just my first day. I am finding my way into it,” Kirsten told the media after a training session at Palam grounds here on Wednesday. The former South Africa opener had a memorable journey with Team India and says he was itching to return to the country. “IPL is a very important tournament for everyone involved, not just Indian players. I always felt that I was going to come back to the country and it was just a matter of time.

I love watching T20 and it’s good to be back here in this new role,” the 46-year-old from Cape Town said. After working with the likes of Dhoni and Graeme Smith in his previous assignments, Kirsten has a new companion in Kevin Pietersen. The former England captain was believed to be a disruptive element by his own country but Kirsten sees no such issues. “KP has been an outstanding player for the Daredevils and a great contributor for the team. The team management and owners have a lot of belief in him. I see no reason why he can’t turn out to be a terrific leader,” he said. It was not a strenuous first practice session and focus was on bonding and fielding drills as Kiwi players Ross Taylor and Jimmy Neesham joined the side this morning.

Kirsten is not perturbed that he has to build the Daredevils up from scratch this season. “This was auction year and we made a conscious decision not to retain any players. We have decided to start from scratch – whether it was a smart decision only time will tell,” Kirsten felt. One of the concerns for Daredevils could be dearth of options in the spin department. Shahbaz Nadeem and Rahul Sharma are the only two specialist spinners in the squad. Kirsten, though, said: “I don’t think we are going to be playing with three specialist spinners in our side. JP Duminy is now a frontline option anyway, so we are not concerned about the composition of the side.”

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