Kirsten, the difference between ‘us and them’
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Gary Kirsten was the difference between India and the rest during the 2011 World Cup. A year later in another global event, he made the difference to India as well — but this time in plotting the downfall of MS Dhoni & Co.
On Wednesday, as the coach of the South African side, he sat in the opposite dugout, but was the first to stand up and console Dhoni's men after they failed to make the semi-finals.
Dhoni was met with a hug, while the rest of the boys received a pat on the back after India won the match by 1 run, but lost the moment by not restricting Kirsten's side to 121 — a figure that would have eliminated Pakistan instead.
Both Kirsten and Team India had lost thanks to Pakistan, and they bonded like old friends.
"You know, it's always nice to connect with the guys again and to see them again. There are fond memories and great connections that I have with the players and there's no animosity in any way," said Kirsten. But has it been hard to plan against the same men he once became the thickest of friends with? The professional in him answered this query with a smile. "You just move on with the new job and you know there's a lot of respect. So there're no issues at all," he added.
The former South Africa opener who began his coaching career in the India blue, however, brushed off any suggestions that he, or for that matter his close confidante Paddy Upton, had any secret information about Team India to pass on. That's just the way Kirsten is, rather willing to focus on setting the same process that got India to the top in the South African side.
It has helped as far as Tests are concerned, with SA at the helm under Kirsten just the way India were two years ago. But with the shorter formats, the process seems to be taking a little more time.
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