England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is set to appoint former South Africa cricketer Gary Kirsten as the new coach of the English Test team. The talks between Kirsten and ECB’s new managing director Rob Key have reached the advanced stage, and the announcement is likely to take place in a couple of weeks.
According to a report in Daily Mail, Kirsten is ready to end his association with the Gujarat Titans (GT) after Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 to take up the role of England’s Test team coach. Notably, the Proteas legend, who has previously led India to a World Cup trophy in 2011, is currently the batting coach and mentor of the new IPL franchise GT.
Although, one of the major complications is that this year’s IPL final is set to be played on May 29, which is only four days before the start of England’s first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s. And, after winning six of their first seven games, the Titans are potentially pretty close to reaching the knockout stages. This means that Kirsten is unlikely to get much time with the England players ahead of their Test battle with the Black Caps – the current world Test champions.
Kirsten, who led South Africa to the top of the Test rankings in 2012, played 101 Tests and 185 ODIs for his nation between 1993 and 2004. In the longest format, he scored 7289 runs at an average of 45.3. Similarly, in ODIs, the Cape Town-born cricketer managed 6798 runs at an average of 41.
If all the developments take place successfully, then Kirsten will replace Chris Silverwood, who was sacked in February, earlier this year, after England’s horror show in Ashes down under.
Silverwood was appointed in 2019 by Ashley Giles, who also stood down as director of cricket. Following all the shakeups, Joe Root decided to step down as England’s Test captain, ending a five-year-long tenure as England’s most successful Test skipper with 27 victories.