'Hope I Can Galvanise The Team': Gary Kirsten Targets 'At Least One Trophy' In His 2-Year Stint As Pakistan White-Ball Coach

'Hope I Can Galvanise The Team': Gary Kirsten Targets 'At Least One Trophy' In His 2-Year Stint As Pakistan White-Ball Coach

Gary Kirsten, who is currently the mentor of IPL side Gujarat Titans, was on Sunday named as the Pakistan head coach for ODIs and T20Is.

PTIUpdated: Monday, April 29, 2024, 05:43 PM IST
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Pakistan's newly appointed head coach Gary Kirsten has set a simple target for the national cricket team -- it has to win at least one out of three upcoming ICC events in next three years.

Among the marquee events lined up between now and 2026, there are two T20 World Cups in 2024 (Americas) and 2026 (India) along with the 2025 ODI Champions Trophy which PCB will be hosting and the World Cup winning former India head coach wants Babar Azam and his men to annex one.

Kirsten, who is currently the mentor of IPL side Gujarat Titans, was on Sunday named as the Pakistan head coach for ODIs and T20Is.

Kirsten to take charge of Pak team after IPL 2024

The former South Africa batter is expected to take charge of his new job from May 22 ahead of Pakistan's tour of England.

"If you can win one of those three ICC Events, that will be an amazing achievement on its own, whether it' the upcoming event (T20 World Cup) or it is two years from now," Kirsten said in a PCB Podcast, when asked about his targets during his tenure.

Pakistan will play in three ICC Events - two T20 World Cups and one Champions Trophy.

Targeting silverware

"My job is to make sure that the team operates at its best. If the team is operating at its best, we will always have a good chance of winning a trophy. So for me, it will be really important to understand where is the team now and where does it need to go to be able to compete right at the top of the pile, and that’s winning ICC events," said the 56-year-old former left-handed batsman.

Kirsten admitted to the paucity of time for the T20 World Cup -- to be held in June in the West Indies and USA -- preparations as he will have to complete his IPL assignment.

"It just so happened that I am on an assignment. So, it was difficult to move away, I’ve got to see my contract out here. But the plans are already in place. Azhar Mahmood as interim head coach is doing a great job. We are communicating at the moment. I’m getting to understand the team and how they’re playing. I’m watching them play, which is great.

"It is going to be a quick turnaround (for me), there's no doubt, we just have to accept that. But, we are hoping that we can build some structures into the team over the course of the next three weeks or so to provide clarity that the players need going into the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup."

Kirsten's love for coaching

According to Kirsten, Pakistan sits as one of the top four to five coaching jobs internationally and the proposition to work with some of the best cricketers in the world was appealing to him.

"I was offered the role to begin with...what is important is that I have the opportunity to work with some of the best cricketers in the world and that excites me.

"I love coaching, first of all. So that’s an important point. I’ve been involved in the short format leagues for a number of years now. The intensity around every game is pretty exciting.

"The shorter formats are different from a coaching perspective, so it presents a great opportunity for the coach to do a lot of different things. Specifically, there’s much going on in a 20-over game, and I enjoy coaching from that perspective."

Still attached to cricket

He also said he grabbed the opportunity to be involved in international cricket again.

"One nice thing about the game of cricket is that there’s always a common denominator when you go cross-cultural. When we talk cricket, we all seem to understand what we're trying to say.

"So, my hope is that I can galvanise the Pakistan men’s white-ball team in such a way that their massive talents can be produced on the field, all flying in the same direction, with a view to the team being a success."

Abundance of talent in Pak cricket

He said he would be looking to "unlock the real potential" of Pakistan players.

"I think the view on Pakistan cricket hasn’t shifted for a long time. There is always an expectation that it should be a high performing team all the time. We know in team sports, that’s not always the case.

"It’s always wonderful from a coaching perspective when you can help them (players) unlock the real potential. That’s what I’m looking forward to. I’m really looking forward to working with those individual players and the team and assisting them that way."

"You know your household names – your Babar Azam, your Mohammad Rizwan, your Shaheen Afridi, your Haris Rauf. All these guys have been around the circuit for a long time. I’m looking forward to understanding what makes them tick and how I can help them to be the best versions of themselves going forward. That is going to be of benefit to the national team."

Introducing the winning culture in Pak cricket

Asked how he will introduce a winning culture in the Pakistan team, he said, "That’s going to be a journey that I've got to walk. To understand how to get the best out of this group of players, it’s as simple as that.

"For me, the most important thing is establishing a really good environment for people to operate at their best, to understand where the players need to be challenged, but also at the same time where they need to be thoroughly enjoying what they do. I don't have the silver bullet to success, my role is to try and enable the players to play at the absolute maximum of their talents."

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