Wasim Akram says the former South Africa batsman has been one of the best coaches in the world.
India have enjoyed great success under coach Gary Kirsten, but it’s time to bid him goodbye. Wasim Akram feels it will be “a big loss” for Indian cricket. Speaking to Mobile ESPN from Karachi on Tuesday, Akram said: "Gary has done wonders for Team India. He is one of the best coaches that I have seen in international cricket. He has a quiet personality and does his job without much fuss.”
Akram added: “He (Kirsten) plays a good part behind the scenes. He has always been a much organised cricketer and we saw that aspect in his coaching as well."
Kirsten’s two-year contract with BCCI expires at the end of the World Cup. During his tenure, Team India won the Border-Gavaskar series 2-0. The former South Africa batsman also coached India to their first ODI series victory in New Zealand after 40 years.
"His qualities as a player and as a person rubbed on Team India as they performed well. MS Dhoni and his men will surely miss him in the dressing room. The management will also have a tough time in trying to find his replacement. But I feel India should concentrate on the World Cup rather than Kirsten. As they say, all good things must come to an end," said Akram.
While India go ga-ga over Yusuf Pathan’s 105 off 70 deliveries in the fifth and final ODI versus South Africa in Centurion on Sunday, Akram had a few words of caution.
"I hope that India do not start relying too much on Yusuf as it can be suicidal. He certainly has stood out with his fantastic showing in the last game. He is a clean hitter and has the temperament of a big-match player," said Akram.
Akram pointed out that apart from Yusuf, Virat Kohli was also a consistent performer in South Africa. Yusuf, who scored 166 in three matches, was definitely a standout, according to the former Pakistan star.
"Yusuf was the only consistent performer. The team surely missed the services of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar but Pathan tried hard to propel India despite their absence. The key was to stay on the wicket in South Africa and Yusuf did just that," said Akram.
Even though India lost the ODI series 2-3, Akram feels it will not have any impact on the World Cup. "I think India will do well once the seniors are back. And it’s always a different feeling to play in your home ground with home fans shouting for you. It definitely gives you a high," concluded Akram.