| Gary Kirsten during a media conference in Johannesburg, on Friday. (Getty Images) |
Calcutta: Gary Kirsten has declared that he will not renew his contract as South Africa’s coach, after taking the Test side to No. 1 in the world rankings.
Kirsten was appointed in August 2011 for a two-year period with an option to renew it for a further two years, and led them to the top of the ICC Test world rankings last year with a 2-0 series victory over then world number ones England.
His contract required him to inform the Board by April 30 2013 whether he wished to exercise that option. He has informed the Board that he will not be renewing his contract for family reasons.
Kirsten, who coached India to the World Cup title in 2011 and scored over 14,000 international runs during a remarkable playing career for South Africa from 1993 until 2004, has a young family and has often taken time out from his cricket duties to be with his wife and children. In fact, he hadn’t renewed his contract with the BCCI for the same reason.
A media release from Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Friday read: “The Board of Directors of Cricket South Africa on Friday accepted with regret national coach Gary Kirsten’s decision not to renew his contract.”
“Gary has a young family and it is understandable that he wishes to spend more time at home,” commented CSA president and board chairman Chris Nenzani.
“I would like to thank him for his tremendous contribution to the well being of the Proteas over the past two years.
It is obvious to all of us, whether we have been close to the Proteas or simply fans watching from the stands, the standard of excellence that he has brought to our national team and it will be wonderful if he can complete his tenure by bringing home the ICC Champions Trophy next month.
“With the Proteas due to tour Sri Lanka in July and August and Pakistan in November and important home series coming up against India and Australia next season, it is important that we move quickly to identify his successor. The Board will be following due process as far as this is concerned.
“Gary certainly leaves the Proteas in good health and, although we are disappointed to lose him as head coach, he has put the foundations in place to carry us forward.
“We will certainly endeavour to retain his services in some capacity as his experience as player, coach and mentor is not something we want to lose in its entirety.”
Kirsten, on the other hand, said: “I would like to thank Cricket South Africa for the confidence they showed in entrusting me with the fortunes of the national team. It has been a huge privilege to represent my country as player and coach and to have been given the responsibility of growing the team.
“I would particularly like to thank Cricket South Africa for allowing me the flexibility to combine my coaching job with my family life during my tenure.
“There have been many highlights over the past two years which have been well documented and I have every confidence that the Proteas will continue to go from strength to strength.”
Kirsten has not tasted a Test series defeat with the Proteas and have won their last six.