Johannesburg, Mar 30: For the first time since winning the World Cup 2011, coach Gary Kirsten will catch up with Indian players on Friday. But he will not be passing on any batting tips or neither there will be throwdowns from the South African for the Indian boys. He now will sit in the opposition dressing room for the Twenty20 International.
Since that euphoric night at the Wankhede Stadium on April 2, 2011, where Kirsten guided the Indian team to World Cup glory, India have not met South Africa in any format of the game. Kirsten is now South Africa coach.
After the World Cup, Kirsten did not extend his contract as India coach and BCCI also did not force him to stay back.
Kirsten gave family commitments as the main reason for going back to South Africa. He wanted to spend more time with his wife and kids.
From India, he went back to his country, South Africa. He assumed the role of a coach again, this time for his home country.
Kirsten will face off against the Indian players on Friday night. There will be few pleasantries exchanged in the lead-up to the match. But he won't be getting any favours from captain MS Dhoni and rest of his team-mates.
Kirsten, who took charge as India's coach in early 2008, was instrumental in the team's rise in Test rankings and most importantly the World Cup.
The left-hander is now guiding the South African team on a similar path. Recently they won the Test series against New Zealand.
In a way this match on Friday will be an important one for both Kirsten and India's present coach Duncan Fletcher. While Kirsten will be planning to plot the downfall of Indians, Fletcher will be hoping he wins here as he is under pressure since replacing the South African.
Kirsten will have an advantage as he knows Indian players' style of playing. He would have already planned on how get Indian batsmen out or helping his batsmen how to tackle the Indian bowlers.
All in all, it will be a battle within a battle as Kirsten attempts to dominate over a team which he moulded into a successful one.
It's is time now for Kirsten vs Team India.