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Gary Kirsten: No place like home

Neil Manthorp

Posted: Mar 24, 2011 at 0956 hrs IST

: As the 2011 World Cup enters the business end, Gary Kirsten, in conversation with Neil Manthorp, reflects on his three years at the helm of Team India and ponders life after the tournament. While Kirsten believes that it has been a privilege coaching India, he admits that it has also meant his family has had to make sacrifices while he has been on the road. Excerpts

Any regrets?

Coaching the Indian team has been a privilege and one of the greatest experiences of my life. I will leave after the World Cup with fond memories and some fantastic new friendships forged.

So youíll stay involved with Indian cricket?

My contract with the Indian team ends after the World Cup. I look forward to some quality time with my family at home as well as working towards setting up my academy in Cape Town. At this stage, Iím not sure what the future holds.

You donít know what the future holds? You canít be short of offers!

I have been fortunate to have received a few offers from different parts of the world. At some stage I will need to find some work, but my immediate priority is to payback the sacrifices my family have made with an absent father. I want to spend as much time as possible with them over the coming months and enjoy taking my kids to school every day.

There is talk of you being involved in the IPL?

Again, I did receive a few offers, but I have always been clear that after the World Cup, I wanted to spend some time at home with my family. I also donít think it would be fair to an IPL franchise that I arrive after the World Cup and then prepare a new team within a week.

And coaching South Africa?

I would always be interested in coaching the South African team. Like the Indian post, I would view it as an immense privilege. To work with my own people would be fantastic. Iím not sure when the right time is and Iím also not sure how it could work with my desire to see as much of my family as possible.

Isnít there a solution, other than just not doing the job?

In the world of international cricket with the amount of time everyone is spending on the road, we are going to see an acceptance of coaches needing to see more of their families. This might possibly mean having an assistant coach who could take over for one week in the middle of a tour for example. Already many of the older players are on rotation when it comes to playing all forms of the game and this gives them more time at home. Many of the international coaches are fairly young guys who have small children they need to see more of. I have thoroughly enjoyed my work as an international coach and would love to do more of it, but the travelling lifestyle that comes with it, does not help in creating functional relationships with oneís family.

You might miss out on opportunities?

Everyone will have a different opinion on what is important to them. I love my work and the game of cricket. It has afforded me a fantastic quality of life and many privileges and for that I will be forever grateful and humbled. But if the nature of this work will end up creating dysfunctional relationships with my wife and my children, then I personally donít believe it is worth it.

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