Kolkata: India's Test skipper Anil Kumble on Thursday supported Gary Kirsten's candidature as Greg Chappell's successor and said Kirsten's experience at the highest level would help India.
"His skills as a player, as a player in a team which was successful, can help the team," said Kumble
Asked what he thinks of Kirsten as Indian coach, Kumble said, ''I think there is still a little time. But irrespective of that he is a great player. I have played against him and he was one of the most successful players of the 90s.''
''I especially admire his batting skills and his ability to be a part of such a high performing South African side. He will know how to handle pressure and be part of a big squad,'' Kumble pointed out.
Kirsten, the former South African opener, was the surprise front-runner to be India's next coach. While the Indian board said Kirsten was interviewed by the coach selection committee on Monday and a formal announcement on the new coach would be made in a week's time, some senior officials said what remained was a formality.
Kirsten has not only been a prolific batsman of his era, but also a coach with a Level-3 certificate and part of South Africa's high performance coaching job.
Kirsten, a left-handed opening batsman, played 101 Tests and 185 One-Day Internationals for South Africa in an 11- year career that ended in 2004.
His unbeaten 188 against United Arab Emirates at Rawalpindi on February 16, 1996, is a South African record for the highest individual innings, and he was the first batsman in Test annals to post a century against all nine countries.