Gary Kirsten reveals he would be recruiting Sir Alastair Cook to rejuvenate England’s testing team while the ex-South Africa and India coach continues his charm offensive to get Chris Silverwood’s job under attack
- Gary Kirsten would look to hire Sir Alastair Cook when he becomes England’s new coach
- Kirsten makes no secret of his desire to take over Chris Silverwood
- The English coach is expected to be relieved of his duties after the Ashes disaster
- Kirsten’s allegations while Silverwood is still on the job raised eyebrows
- The South African would be a strong candidate – if he didn’t miss his chances
Gary Kirsten would try to recruit Sir Alastair Cook to help build an England testing team to rise from the ashes of yet another huge defeat in Australia.
The man who led both India and his native South Africa to the top of the test rankings makes no secret of his desire to take on Chris Silverwood as soon as the ax inevitably falls on the English coach at the end of the ashes.
And in an interview with talkSPORT, Kirsten said he wouldn’t waste time turning to the “best guys” in English test cricket to help him with the job he did when he named Ashley Giles to Silverwood that year Overlooked in 2019.
Gary Kirsten says it would be a “privilege” to rebuild England’s test team after losing Ashes
Kirsten would try to recruit former English captain Sir Alastair Cook to rejuvenate the team
“It would be a huge privilege to be offered a job like this,” said the former South African debut player.
“I was invited for an interview three years ago and my focus is always on the form of the game where I think the team can reach new heights.
“It just feels like there is a great opportunity for English cricket to sit down and see what they want to do with the testing team, just like they did with the one-day team a few years ago. You did a great job with it, and that’s what the test page asks for.
“The first conversation I would have with those in charge is to make sure you have the top five or six test match experts in English cricket in the room,” continued Kirsten. “So for me, Alastair Cook would be the most outstanding.
“He should be in the room to discuss the game in England. There’s a lot to be encouraged in English cricket, but when I was at Welsh Fire last summer I asked coaches who their top 6 should be for the English team and I didn’t get the same answer from anyone. This is a red flag for me. You have to have a set top six. ‘
Chris Silverwood’s place as England head coach is in jeopardy after the humiliation in Ashes
Kirsten’s willingness to toss his hat in the ring while Silverwood is still at work raised eyebrows in the English camp.
But there is no question that there will be a job soon and as long as Giles decides to return to split coaches for various formats, the South African would be a strong candidate for the test role – as long as he hasn’t ruined his chances by talking at this stage.
And Kirsten, 54, was happy to share his coaching philosophy with Neil Manthorp and Steve Harmison. “We have to create specialized coaches in different formats. The time has come for that, ”said Kirsten.
“How do you define coaching? If someone says to me, “Would you go in there and change them?” I wouldn’t say absolutely, but I would definitely challenge them to give the best they can be. I am not presenting a new way of playing cricket.
“When I was fortunate enough to work with India it wasn’t about telling Sachin Tendulkar that he was picking up the bat, it was more about challenging the way she played.
“That is the skill of coaching. Encouraging each individual and “how can I make him better than he is now?” It doesn’t mean you are playing wrong and I know the right way. But you have to make tough decisions.
“That’s why I’m such a fan of great technology. Why was Marnus Labuschagne so successful in test cricket? Because he has such a pure technique and has the defense to get out of trouble.
“We can get too funky thinking that you can play the game one way and it will work in all formats. That’s not the case. It puzzles me to think that hitting two runs and ahead is the way to succeed in Test Match cricket. It is not. You will find out very quickly as you cannot spend that much time at the game location without the game going on. A just survival strategy is not a strategy.
“I want to see this Australian attack and look at a young English player to get excited. To think, “You know what? He can play at the highest level against the best bowlers in the world.” We can sometimes be fooled by players who don’t have the technique because they can get a lot of runs at a lower level. ‘