Former India head coach Gary Kirsten wants England Test job | England cricket team
Gary Kirsten is likely to be shortlisted for the vacant England Test head coach job as Rob Key moves to make his first major appointment as manager of men’s cricket.
A job that could be split in two by Test and white-ball cricket is expected to be officially announced in the coming days, but Key has already started canvassing potential candidates since he started work last Tuesday.
Kirsten, the former India and South Africa head coach, missed out on the England job in 2019 to Chris Silverwood and has been bruised by a process that led to him slipping away for the UK believing it was at a loss. But those close to Kirsten say he remains keen on the challenge of turning England’s Testing fortunes around and, having had concerns about the demands of family life when the job was all-format, is heartened by the fact that the role could be divided.
Speaking of Kirsten in February when a Sky pundit Key said: “He probably would [be a good option as head coach]. He was obviously a decent player and he has a lot of international cricket experience so he’s used to that scrutiny and he coached India to world No 1 with [captain] Mrs Dhoni.
“What you sometimes have to figure out with these people is who was the real driver of this success that India has had. Was it MS Dhoni, was it Gary Kirsten? Did Gary Kirsten just facilitate MS Dhoni and all the awesome stuff about MS Dhoni and all the decisions? That’s what you need to find out.
Kirsten is the batting mentor for new franchise Gujarat Titans who are No. 1 in the Indian Premier League, but with England keen to find the right person for the team’s needs, a degree of flexibility on second jobs was not excluded.
There are others in the running, with former Australian hitter Simon Katich highly rated by Key after their recent stint commentating together in Pakistan. The 46-year-old is already working in England as the head coach of Manchester Originals, has knowledge of the county from his playing days and experience coaching in the IPL.
Although the separation of head coaching roles will reduce time spent on the road, candidates will still have to weigh their own commitments and the international cricketing lifestyle. Katich, for example, has a young family and is among a number of ex-players who relish the flexibility of combining commentary work with short-term franchise roles.
Key is said to be optimistic about his options, with Graham Ford, the widely-traveled former Kent and Surrey manager, another linked name and Paul Collingwood, the interim head coach for both legs of the recent tour of the Caribbean, a candidate for the limited-overs job that backs Eoin Morgan as captain. Justin Langer, the former Australia head coach, is not considered a candidate. While Ben Stokes is also expected to take on the Test captaincy – provided Key is confident the all-rounder is ready to take on additional responsibilities after last year’s mental health break. reasons – a trickier task is to hire a new national coach.