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Kirsten will cajole Proteas players to assess, challenge temselves

June 8, 2011 - Johannesburg

Newly appointed South African cricket team coach Gary Kirsten can be expected to use his two-year stint to cajole his players to constantly assess, re-assess and challenge themselves.

Sports24 chief writer Rob Houwing has expressed this view in an article.

Houwing says that he is sure that Kirsten will discourage comfort zones, as he is admirably free of egotistical tendencies, partly a product of his own international past as a player, where he was never in personal doubt that he had to make up in iron resolve and a clever ability to mask his technical shortcomings what he always lacked in his older half-brother Peter's obvious natural genius.

Houwing believes that Kirsten is and will always be held in high esteem across the international cricket fraternity because of this one quality.

"He was big on "recommendation" rather than prescription, and endeavoured as strongly as possible to help keep the fires of long-established superstars burning to the benefit of the team cause," he says.

"Kirsten keeps notably high standards of personal fitness, which favourably influences his strong hands-on qualities ... for instance with energetic "throw-downs" to batsmen at the nets. I was especially interested in his statement, upon announcement of his appointment, that he intended giving his charges "options, so that they can grow both as cricketers and as people," Houwing said.

He believes that over the years, Kirsten has achieved a balance after spending his early years as a student partygoer and mischief-maker of some magnitude, by own admission.

Houwing also says that it will fascinating to see whether Kirsten summon the services, in some capacity, of Eric Simons and "mind coach" specialist Paddy Upton, both of whom, it seems reasonably clear, significantly aided his era with India.

As long as everyone suitably tempers their enthusiasm for his appointment by Cricket South Africa, by realising that he does not bring with him a magic wand that immediately transforms the Proteas, voila, into a machine comparable to the West Indies of the Viv Richards era or Australia in the Shane Warne heyday, the possibilities for Kirsten's tenure look very appetising indeed.


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