After India’s disastrous World Cup campaign in 2007 ODI World Cup, India’s batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar pondered about retirement.
Sachin was batting out of position under Greg Chappell’s tenure as the head coach. It led to a major slump in form for the ‘Master Blaster’, languishing in the middle-order at four being a natural opener in white-ball cricket.
However, it was Gary Kirsten, the 2011 World Cup-winning head coach, who was responsible for a turnaround in his career.
Since his appointment in 2008, Kirsten found great chemistry with the Indian team during his tenure culminating in the 2011 World Cup.
Also, the former South African opener, struck an excellent captain-coach alliance with MS Dhoni. The two also witnessed India being crowned the ICC Test Mace 2008.
“You just asked him [Sachin], didn’t you, when you arrived, you just asked Sachin, ‘What would you want me to do? And he said, ‘Be my friend?” host Neil Manthorp asked Kirsten on TalkSports’ Following On podcast.
“Yeah, as simple as that. I ended up having a great coaching journey with him and that, for me, is where the essence of coaching is now, certainly modern coaching. You’re actually facilitating people’s ability to be the best version of themselves,” Kirsten replied.
During the period between his appointment in 2008 and the showpiece event in 2011, Sachin found an outstanding purple patch, where he scored 18 tons.
Sachin amassed over 6000 runs across formats since turning 35, thereby, adding a second life to his prolonged 24-year career.
“If I think of Sachin at that time, where he was when I arrived in India … he wanted to give up the game. According to him he was batting out of position, he wasn’t enjoying his cricket at all. Three years later, he scores 18 international hundreds in three years, goes back to batting where he wants to bat, and we win the World Cup,” added Kirsten.
Later, the former Protea opener mentioned how he helped build an environment in the team where they can bring out the best versions of themselves.
“So, for me, all I did was facilitate an environment for him to thrive. I didn’t tell him anything. He knew the game, but what he did need was an environment – not only him, all of them – an environment set up where they could be the best version of themselves,” Kirsten concluded.