India to miss Kirsten in series decider

Published: Wednesday, August 6, 2008, 10:53 [IST]
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Colombo: Coach Gary Kirsten"s leaving Team India to attend to his ailing mother has not come at a good time for Indian squad. With the series level at 1-1 and the deciding third Test to start on Friday, the team would have only had it better with Kirsten around.

India did not have a practice session on Tuesday and will resume practice with a net session on Wednesday.

Kirsten had a lengthy conversation with Indian captain Anil Kumble on the strategy to be adopted for the final Test and the performance of the team is unlikely to be affected by Kirsten"s absence. The team has the required experience in place and Kirsten admitted they can go about the task ahead of them as planned.

The coach was also forced to leave for home directly from Pakistan at the end of the Asia Cup in July to meet his mother. He was not available when the selection committee met to select the team for the Sri Lanka Test series and had a tele-conference with the selectors on the day of selection.

With four members in the side having played more than 100 Tests and V.V.S. Laxman fast approaching his 100th, India are not short of experience. Harbhajan Singh and Virender Sehwag who had a forgettable Test at the SSC put in excellent individual shows to pilot India to a 170-run win in Galle and most of the players played themselves into some form.

After the exit of former coach Greg Chappell, India have had some of their best success without the services of a professional coach. They recorded a Test series win with Chandu Borde as manager and tasted success in the T20 World Cup in South Africa and the triangular series in Australia with Lalchand Rajput as manager in charge. However Kirsten was available in the capacity as consultant during the famous Perth Test where India recorded a win after the match in Sydney ran into huge controversy.

Senior members of the team were happy with the approach and ideas of Kirsten then. It is reliably learnt the team are pleased with his professional approach. The team with enough players in the know and the mood being upbeat should be able to carry on the good work here and Kirsten"s unavailability should not be a cause for major concern.


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