Kumble praises Kirsten's skills as player, person

Kolkata, Nov 29 (UNI) Indian skipper Anil Kumble today said irrespective of whether South African Gary Kirsten coaches India or not, he had great respect for him as a player and his skills.

Asked how he rated Kirsten as Indian coach, Kumble said, ''I think there is still a little time. But irrespective of that he is a great player. I have played against him and he was one of the most successful players of the 90s.'' ''I especially admire his batting skills and his ability to be a part of such a high performing South African side.

In a team of South Africa's stature that was world class then also, to sustain that needed great skills,'' he added.

''He will know how to handle pressure and be apart of a big squad,'' Kumble pointed out.

Kirsten, the former South African opener, was the surprise front-runner to be India's next coach. While the Indian board said Kirsten was interviewed by the coach selection committee on Monday and a formal announcement on the new coach would be made in a week's time, some senior officials said what remained was a formality.

Kirsten has not only been a prolific batsman of his era, but also a coach with a Level-3 certificate and part of South Africa's high performance coaching job.

Kirsten, a left-handed opening batsman, played 101 Tests and 185 One-Day Internationals for South Africa in an 11- year career that ended in 2004.

His unbeaten 188 against United Arab Emirates at Rawalpindi on February 16, 1996, is a South African record for the highest individual innings, and he was the first batsman in Test annals to post a century against all nine countries.


Story first published: Friday, November 30, 2007, 0:25 [IST]
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