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I Thought it Was a Hoax: Gary Kirsten on India Coaching Job

I Thought it Was a Hoax: Gary Kirsten on India Coaching Job

Former India coach Gary Kirsten recalled "bizarre" series of events that led him to getting the top job in 2007.

Former India coach Gary Kirsten recalled “bizarre" series of events that led him to getting the top job in 2007.

Speaking on the Cricket Collective podcast, Kirsten recalled the time when Sunil Gavaskar, part of the coaching selection committee, shot him a mail asking him to consider the job, even when he had not applied for it.

“I’ve got an email from Sunil Gavaskar – would I consider coaching the Indian team,” Kirsten said. “I thought it was a hoax. I never even answer it. He sent me another email, and said, ‘Will you come for an interview?’. I showed it to the wife, and she said, ‘They must have the wrong person’. So it was a bizarre entry into the whole thing, and rightly so. I mean, I had no coaching experience or anything.

“Anyway, I went for the interview, it was a bizarre experience in many ways because I kinda arrived at the interview and I see Anil Kumble, who’s the current Indian captain, and he says, ‘What are you doing here?’. I said, ‘I have come for an interview to coach you!’. So we kinda laugh about it. It was quite a laughing matter.

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“Ten minutes later, I am in this board meeting with these BCCI officials, and it was quite an intimidating environment; the secretary of the board said, ‘Mr. Kirsten, would you like to present your vision for the future of Indian Cricket?’, and I said, ‘Well, I don’t have one.’ No one had asked me to prepare anything for it. I had just arrived there.

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Ravi Shastri, who was also on the committee, said to me, ‘Gary, tell us, what did you guys as the South African team do to beat the Indians?’.

“He was suitably impressed, as was the rest of the board, because three minutes later – I had been in in the interview about seven minutes – the secretary of the board slides across a contract to me. [I] pick up the contract, and the first page, I am looking for my name frantically, and I can’t see my name, but I see Greg Chappell’s name, who was the previous coach.

“So I slide the contract back and I say, ‘Sir, I think you have given me your previous coach’s contract. He kind of looks at it a little bit perturbed, and takes out a pen from his pocket, scratches out his [Chappell] name and writes my name on it.

“Then slides the contract back. So now I have my name on the contract. The beautiful thing about that was I didn’t have a clue what I should be paid. But then, obviously, with Chappell’s package there, I thought, ‘Well, let me just keep it the same!’ I am happy with what he was getting paid. That was it."

first published:June 15, 2020, 12:17 IST