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Kirsten will be an asset to the team: Kumble
Harish Kotian in Kolkata | November 29, 2007 15:30 IST
Last Updated: November 29, 2007 20:52 IST
Anil Kumble [Images] gave a thumbs-up to Gary Kirsten, who is being touted to take over as the new Team India coach.
"I have played against Gary and he is a tough competitor," said India's Test team captain in Kolkata on Thursday.
The 40-year-old former South Africa opener has emerged a surprise candidate to take over the Indian coaching job after a secret interview with the Board of Control for Cricket in India's coach selection committee in Delhi on Monday.
The committee that interviewed Kirsten included former India captains Sunil Gavaskar [Images], Ravi Shastri and S Venkataraghavan, BCCI joint-secretary M P Pandove, treasurer N Srinivasan and secretary Niranjan Shah. Kumble was also invited to attend the meeting.
"He has been in a team that has been successful in the late 90s. His skills as a player will be an asset to the team," the leg-spinner said on the eve of the second India-Pakistan Test in Kolkata.
Kirsten is one of South Africa's top batsmen, having scored 7,289 and 6,798 runs in 101 Tests and 185 ODIs respectively.
He retired from international cricket in 2004 after which he took over as South Africa's high performance manager.
Later, he also set up the Gary Kirsten Cricket Academy in Cape Town and also conducted a coaching clinic with the Zimbabwe national team in July this year.