Gary Kirsten interested in becoming England's Test coach

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31 Dec 2021 | 07:33 AM
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Gary Kirsten interested in becoming England's Test coach

However, the 54-year-old has zero interest in being involved with the white-ball format

Former South African batter Gary Kirsten is interested in becoming the head coach of England's beleaguered Test side but has zero interest in being involved with the white-ball format. Current England coach Chris Silverwood has come under intense scrutiny after losing the Ashes series in Australia in less than 12 days.

Under the guidance of Kirsten, India became the top-ranked Test side for the first time in their history and also won the 2011 World Cup. The former left-handed batter then worked with South Africa and helped them get to the top of the Test rankings in 2012. 

Kirsten applied for the role of England head coach twice in 2015 and 2019 but was pipped by Trevor Bayliss and Silverwood respectively. He has not coached an international team since 2013, citing family commitments, but has worked with T20 franchises like  Royal Challengers Bangalore, Hobart Hurricanes and Durban Heat. He is currently working as Welsh Fire's coach in the men's Hundred competition. 

"Listen, it (the England job) is always a consideration because it's a tremendous honour. I've walked this journey twice now and I've always made it clear that I would never commit to doing all formats. And when international cricket boards get their head around the fact that they need to split coaching roles, then it becomes a consideration," the 54-year-old told the i newspaper.

"Working with a Test side, or working with an ODI side is great. Listen, the England ODI side is set-up, you're the best ODI side in the world at the moment. It's a project that has been well-thought-out. You've got consistency in the players that have been picked.

"Your Test side has battled for a while but it would be a really lovely project to get that going. I think it's a great project for someone to come in and take that Test side on. There's a lot that needs to be put in place to build this Test team out."

He feels one format always bears the brunt as teams juggle with multiple formats. "Interestingly, when I finished with India and I joined South Africa, we just looked at it and said 'our priority has to be Test match cricket'. I actually said to the CEO of Cricket South Africa that I was happy to just do the Test side because I felt it should be the No 1 side in the world.

"It had all the credentials to do that. The issue is that the different formats have the potential to cannibalise teams. You focus too much attention on one format and the other format takes the hit. It's not easy to get everything right. Look at Australia, they're now using a lot of players across the different formats."

Former England batter Nick Compton feels Kirsten would be the right person to replace Silverwood. "I would make a change now.  think Silverwood is a good man and did the best he can. Kirsten would be the right person. He understands top-level batting, he's been there in a consistent fashion," Compton told Sky Sports News.

"Are (England managing director Ashley) Giles and Silverwood the problem? That's the big question. I don't think suddenly you come in and overhaul everything. It's about getting the right people into the right places. I don't think Giles has made the right appointments. I think Kirsten should have got the coaching job, someone who's more skilled, with experience of taking teams to No 1 in the world, who has won World Cups.

"With all due respect to Silverwood, he's given his absolute best, but he hasn't had the long-term experience of being a head coach. As well as giving him complete autonomy with the selection, it's a huge role to take on. The selection has been pretty abysmal in this series, it obviously hasn't worked. He could have stayed as the bowling coach, I think Kirsten would have been the right man to take on this role.”

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EnglandGary KirstenChris SilverwoodNick Compton

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