Gary Kirsten has the uncanny ability to extract the best out of the players in pressure situations and India will sorely miss him if he does not renew his contract with the Cricket Board after the World Cup starting next month, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said.
"We fought back after losing the first Test (in Centurion) Gary's contribution to this cannot be overlooked. He understands the pressure of international cricket and knows how to get the best out of every player, even when there is incredible pressure on the side," Dhoni said.
"It will be very difficult to replace (Gary Kirsten) and we are going to miss him incredibly," he was quoted as saying by the Afrikaans weekly Rapport.
Dhoni had said before the start of the Test series against South Africa that the distance from his family might prevent Kirsten from renewing his contract once it runs out after the World Cup and money part would not keep him in India.
"Both Kirsten's sons - Joshua is a growing kid right now and James is a young kid too - which means Gary wants to spend time with his family. That will be the most crucial thing apart from the money aspect," Dhoni had said.
There has been a lot of speculation that Kirsten will agree to take the place of Corrie van Zyl, the current South Africa coach, who will in all likelyhood return to his permanent post as head coach of CSA's High Performance Centre at the end of the World Cup.
Kirsten joined India after the Australian tour in 2007-08 and under him India climbed to number one position in the world, losing just one Test series.
India are also going into the World Cup beginning next month in the subcontinent as one of the favourites.