Former India coach Gary Kirsten, who was at the helm when the team last won the World Cup in 2011, believes the current team has the potential to bring home another trophy soon. South African and then Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni made national headlines in 2011 when the team won its second ODI World Cup since 1983. But the title has eluded India in all formats for over a decade. The most recent tragedy came in last year's 50-over showpiece in which Rohit Sharma's team lost to six-time champions Australia in the final in Ahmedabad.
“I don't think winning the World Cup is easy, it is really hard. Australia have probably mastered it better than any other country, but India have the potential to compete at the highest level for World Cup success and glory because of the depth in their cricket,” said Kirsten, who was the captain of the team from 2008 to 2011. He was India's coach till 2015, told PTI. an interview.
“I wouldn't be surprised if they get some wins soon,” he said.
When asked if India can pull off the worst in the upcoming T20 World Cup this year, Kirsten said it is not impossible that India can find a way to make things right in the knockout games.
However, he did not specify what exactly the team would need to do.
“No doubt winning the World Cup is within India's reach and they have players who are capable of doing it. But a lot still needs to go right to win a World Cup, especially those knock-out games where anything can happen,” said the 56-year-old.
Talking about the general state of the game, the veteran with 6798 runs in 185 ODIs said that ODI cricket needs context to survive.
“I like three- and four-team tournaments but I am just worried that sometimes bilateral series become irrelevant. I would love to see a world champion ODI team every year.
“It would be fun, maybe (depending on the point system) or the way they set it up, but I think competition is everything,” he said.
“We have just finished a fantastic World Cup in India that has captured the imagination of many people. I also went there to watch some matches and it was very exciting,” said the former opening batsman.
On the “club versus country” debate that has been prevalent in cricket since the advent of the IPL, Kirsten said that franchise cricket is giving a platform to those who would otherwise not get a chance to represent their country and they should not be dragged into such debates. Needed
“It is not easy to represent your country. Now new players have the opportunity to represent their franchise which will fulfill their aspirations. It is very important for many young players to give them a chance to play professional cricket despite not being able to play international cricket,” said the veteran coach.
Giving the example of the SA20 league running in his country, Kirsten said that franchise-based leagues are very important to keep the game alive at the grassroots level.
“SA 20 is very important to keep the game alive in this country. Cricket is being played all over the world so these leagues play a very important role economically,” he explained.
“They also draw aspirants into the cricket system. Like when kids go to watch league matches and see their heroes playing there, they too are inspired to become one of them,” he said.
When asked if he was open to the idea of coaching the Indian team again, the Gujarat Titans mentor declined to comment.
“I come to India every year and I love it. I am about to embark on my eighth IPL season and I enjoy working with Gujarat Titans.
“Ashish Nehra (head coach) is a close friend and we enjoy working together in that cricket environment. Vikram Solanki (director of cricket) is there too,” Kirsten said.
“It would be a great honor to be offered a job at the national level but I am not sure about it. But yes, I always enjoy going back to India (for the IPL).'' He heaped praise on new Gujarat captain Shubman Gill and said he admires his eagerness to move forward. Gill scored a century in the ongoing second Test against England in Visakhapatnam, ending his long-running poor form in this format.
“Shubman is one of the best players. 900-plus runs in the last IPL season, not many people can do that… I just like the way he wants to push and develop his game.
“Looking forward to making him captain. He is a smart guy and will enjoy his captaincy.”
Kirsten is also kept busy by her Catch Trust Foundation, which was launched nine years ago to address inequality in access to sporting opportunities for children in South Africa.
“In 2014, I came here after coaching in India. I wanted to watch cricket in our poorest area in Cape Town. There was no cricket happening here at that time. So, I started training young children to give them an opportunity to fulfill their dreams,” he said.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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