He took India to number one in Test cricket and they won the 2011 World Cup in his last assignment with the world’s most populous cricket nation.
Now there is the challenge for Kirsten’s South Africa to forge a dominant one-day team. “We would like to perform at a higher level than we have in one-day cricket,” Kirsten said as he looked ahead to a three-match series against New Zealand, starting in Paarl today. “We’ve been okay but we haven’t been outstanding.”
Being “okay” is not good enough for Kirsten. “We believe that we are capable of being a unit that can really perform at one-day level,” he said. England’s loss to India in the second ODI in Kochi on Tuesday meant that South Africa gained the No 1 spot in the rankings, although SA, England, India and Australia are tightly bunched at the top.