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Won World Cup With India, Former Coach Gary Kirsten Explains Decision To Join Pakistan

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) made a significant move on Sunday as they announced the appointment of World Cup-winning Gary Kirsten as their head coach for ODIs and T20Is, while former Australian pacer Jason Gillespie will take over that role in Test cricket. Kirsten has had successful stints with India and South Africa before, with his 2011 OD World Cup triumph with the MS Dhoni-led side arguably being the highlight. Along with them, former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood was appointed as the assistant coach of the team across the formats.

Speaking of his decision to coach the Pakistan team, Kirsten said that his primary aim remains to unite the Pakistan white-ball team.

“It’s a tremendous honour to be entrusted with the responsibility of coaching the Pakistan men’s national team in white-ball cricket and to rejoin the international cricket arena after some time. I eagerly anticipate this opportunity and aim to contribute positively to the Pakistan men’s national team in limited-overs cricket. Kirsten’s strategy focuses on prioritizing continuity in team selections, aiming to create a stable and consistent environment that allows players to perform at their best. He believes that maintaining a cohesive unit and building strong team dynamics are essential for the team’s success in international competitions.

“One of the beautiful aspects of cricket is its universality. Across cultures, there’s a shared understanding when we discuss the game. My goal is to unite the Pakistan men’s white-ball team, harnessing their considerable talents towards a common objective, and achieving success together on the field,” he said.

Kirsten, who is currently the mentor of IPL side Gujarat Titans, is expected to take over from Pakistan’s tour of England from May 22.

Pakistan will play four T20Is and from there the team will travel for the T20 World Cup in June.

Pakistan have been on the search for a full-time head coach since the end of the 50-over World Cup last year where they failed to enter the knockout stages.

After their shambolic effort in the marquee event held in India, Pakistan had sacked the entire set of coaching staff – head coach Grant Bradburn, team director Mickey Arthur, bowling coach Morne Morkel and batting coach Andrew Puttick.

Premier batter Babar Azam was also removed from captaincy post the ICC showpiece with Pakistan opting to appoint pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi as their white-ball leader and Shan Masood doing that duty in Tests.

Along with that, Pakistan had also turned to former cricketer Muhammad Hafeez for the guiding role during their tour to Australia.

But Hafeez lost the job after Pakistan lost 0-3 in the Test series and 1-4 in the T20Is.

While Masood was retained as Test captain, Afridi was relieved from leadership and Babar was reinstated in the last week of March.

However, Pakistan could not find a full-time head coach despite them approaching some top names such Matthew Hayden and Shane Watson.

Eventually, they zeroed in on Kirsten, who had led India to the World Cup triumph in 2011, and Gillespie, who comes with a bagful of coaching experience with English county side Sussex.

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