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Kirsten reveals recipe for success in India

November 23, 2008 18:18 IST

Indian cricket coach Gary Kirsten says the secret of his successful stint with Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men so far lies in the way he has embraced the country and its work ethics.

"When people talk about me being a foreign coach I don't feel like a foreign coach because I've integrated my thinking, my philosophies and my style of coaching, along with Paddy's (Upton), into how the Indians go about their business. We are a very happy unit," Kirsten said.

The former South Africa batsman, who replaced Greg Chappell as coach of the Indian team, said it was important to maintain a certain distance from the players.

"Because of the culture barrier, that happens naturally here. In cricket time we're together and outside we go and do our own thing. But I know how tough it is for them. They're a good side and they're good people, but they're almost a paradox in many respects.

"They're so very humble, yet they've got this superstardom status. You could easily see how it could go to their heads. But it doesn't. They're good listeners and they respect your space.

"I can't really speak highly enough of them, and I'd have said that whether we were doing well or not," the former opening batsman told the Daily Telegraph.

Kirsten said Upton, the mental conditional coach of the Indian team, was making a big difference to the team's development.

"His contribution is vital. He helps players really understand and fine-tune their minds for performance, at the same time he works extensively at the cutting edge of the art of coaching and man-management," Kirsten said.

The South African said he along with Upton has adopted a different approach when it comes to fitness training.

"We're trying to bring in new thinking but we're not going to force them to do it. For instance after a game Paddy might say to those that haven't played: 'I'm running a shuttle school. If you want to come, come'. And they do.

"They're physically different. They must play the game their own way. They play with enormous flair, and they've got great hands on the ball. We've got to encourage that.

Kirsten also felt that the job of the coach was not to impose himself on the players and it was important to give freedom to the captain, something he learnt from former England coach Duncan Fletcher.

"The coach is not the man to sit on the parapets in cricket  it's not like soccer. Duncan taught me that. He was a great mentor to me as a player, and now he is as a coach," Kirsten said.

The India coach also spoke highly of current leader of the team -- Dhoni.

"He's got exceptional leadership qualities. He's a very streetwise cricketer and likes to think out of the box. That's lovely because I like to think out of the box too. He's just got that winner's mind-set: he truly believes this team will win more games than they'll lose," he said.

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