Build-up for Proteas’ tour to England going smoothly, says Kirsten

2012-05-28 00:00

SOUTH African cricket coach Gary Kirsten appears to be in a confident mood ahead of the Proteas’ tour to England in July.

The Proteas will play three Test matches, five ODIs and three T20s from July 19 to September 12, and Kirsten says preparations for what he knows will be a difficult tour are moving along smoothly.

“The guys have just come back from the IPL [Indian Premier League], and we’re fortunate that there are no injuries to any of them,” he told The Witness on Saturday.

Kirsten said the members of the national setup were ignoring talk that the current South African Test team were the best the country has ever seen.

“We’re just making sure we’re as prepared as we can for England. We won’t involve ourselves in speculation about how good we are,” said Kirsten.

The World Cup-winning mentor was in Pietermaritzburg at the weekend as a guest of the Africa Enterprise Mission.

“My father and wife were born here, so it’s good to be back,” he told The Witness after holding a cricket coaching clinic at Carter High School on Saturday.

“My father-in-law, Michael Cassidy, asked me if I could give a few talks at various events, which is what I’ve been doing.

“I gave my opinion, and shared my experiences about the Indian and South African teams,” said the former Proteas opening batsman.

The director of sport at Carter, Ismail Kajee, who organised the clinic, said it was a wonderful opportunity for the many young cricketers from various schools who were in attendance to hear Kirsten speak.

“There are players here from various schools around Pietermaritzburg. Some of them might never get the opportunity to interact with someone like Gary,” he said.

Kirsten told the players that practice and hard work were more important than talent.

“Your talent alone can’t get you to the top,” he said.

“If you have any hopes of making it as a professional cricketer, you have to work harder than everyone else.”

“Take a guy like Sachin [Tendulkar] for instance. This is a guy who’s been playing cricket for over 20 years, and he makes sure he hits 1 000 balls a week.”

Kirsten coached the Indian national side from 2008 to 2011, winning the World Cup in his final year with the Asian giants. He was appointed coach of the Proteas in June last year.

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