Greg Chappell to Gary Kirsten, in 7 minutes
He was never interested in coaching neither did he apply for the job, but it took exactly seven minutes for Gary Kirsten to land the high-profile India coach’s job back in 2007.
Speaking on the Cricket Collective podcast, Kirsten recalled the “bizarre” series of events that unfolded in 2007.
Kirsten said he went for the interview on the invitation of Sunil Gavaskar, who was part of the coach selection panel, and ended up with the job after being offered his predecessor Greg Chappell’s contract.
“I got an email from Sunil Gavaskar asking if I would consider coaching the Indian team,” Kirsten recalled.
“I thought it was a hoax. I never even answered. He sent me another email, and said, ‘Will you come for an interview?’ I showed it to my wife, and she said, ‘They must have the wrong person’.
“So it was a bizarre entry into the whole thing, and rightly so. I mean, I had no coaching experience or anything,” he said.
“I kind of arrived at the interview and I see Anil Kumble, who’s then the Indian captain, and he says, ‘What are you doing here?’ I said, ‘I have come for an interview to coach you!’”
Kirsten went on to become one of the most successful India coaches of all time, guiding the team to the top of the Test rankings in 2009, and then to the World Cup title two years later.
Talking about the interview, Kirsten said he had gone unprepared, and when asked to present his “vision for Indian cricket”, he replied “I don’t have one”.
“Ravi Shastri, who was on the committee, said to me, ‘Gary, tell us, what did you guys as the South African team do to beat the Indians?’ I thought it was a great ice-breaker, because I could answer it and I answered it in about two-three minutes without saying strategies.
“He was suitably impressed, as was the rest of the board, because three minutes later — I had been in the interview about seven minutes — the secretary of the board slides across a contract to me,” Kirsten added.