Pakistan appoints ex-South African cricketer who once helped MS Dhoni’s India win 2011 World Cup

Pakistan appoints Gary Kirstein as white-ball coach
Pakistan appoints Gary Kirstein as white-ball coach ahead of T20 World Cup. Photo Courtesy: PCB X page

The Pakistan Cricket Board is gearing up for the upcoming T20 World Cup, and keeping the crucial tournament in mind, it appointed former South African opening batsman Gary Kirsten, during whose tenure India won the 2011 World Cup, as the coach for the white-ball format.

Pakistan also appointed former Australian pacer Jason Gillespie as head coach for Test squad.

Former Pakistani all-rounder Azhar Mahmood was appointed assistant coach in all formats.

“The three appointments have been made for a two-year period following a recruitment process,” read a statement issued by the PCB.

Kirsten will take charge of the side immediately after completing his assignment in the ongoing Indian Premier League.

During his tenure, besides the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 and other bilateral white-ball series, Kirsten will also be in charge of the side for next year’s ICC Champions Trophy 2025 in Pakistan, ACC T20 Asia Cup 2025 and the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2026 in India and Sri Lanka.

Gillespie will assume responsibilities for the ICC World Test Championship fixtures against Bangladesh (at home in August), which will be followed by Tests against England (at home in October) and South Africa (away in December) in the 2024-25 season.

PCB Chairman Mohsin Naqvi said: “I extend my congratulations to Jason Gillespie and Gary Kirsten on their appointments as the red and white-ball head coaches of the Pakistan men’s cricket team, respectively. Their stellar track records precede them, and I warmly welcome them to the Pakistan cricket family.”

“The PCB is unwavering in its commitment to furnish the national team with top-tier resources and facilities, fostering an environment conducive to unlocking their full potential and consistently delivering stellar performances,” he said.

Jason Gillespie said: “I am grateful to the PCB for their faith in my abilities and giving me the honour of coaching one of the most highly-regarded and talented cricket teams in the traditional format of the sport. Leading the Pakistan cricket team is a big achievement for any coach, given its rich legacy and passionate fan base.”

He is the sixth-highest wicket-taker in Tests for Australia.

Gillespie, who was part of the strong Australian squad that played under the leadership of Steve Waugh and then Ricky Ponting and went on to dominate world cricket for years, picked up 259 Test wickets in his career.

He was part of the 2003 World Cup winning squad and played a crucial role in the team with other fast bowlers including Brett Lee and Glenn Mcgrath.

Gary Kirsten said he aims to contribute positively to the Pakistan men’s national team in limited-overs cricket.

“My perspective on Pakistan cricket has remained consistent over time. There’s always an inherent expectation for the team to perform at a high level consistently. However, in team sports, maintaining peak performance is not always guaranteed. As a coach, it’s immensely gratifying to assist players in unlocking their full potential. I eagerly anticipate collaborating with the individual players and the team, facilitating their growth and development,” he said.

“For cricket enthusiasts globally, Pakistan players are a familiar sight, showcasing their skills across various platforms. It’s truly a joy to watch them play the game,” he said.

Kirsten and Gillespie served as coach in franchise cricket, including Indian Premier League.

The South African is best remembered for his stint in India when under former skipper MS Dhoni’s leadership, India won the 2011 World Cup in Mumbai by beating Sri Lanka in the final.

The 56-year-old former South Africa top-order batter played 101 Tests and 185 ODIs from 1993-2004 in which he accumulated a total of 14,087 runs with 34 centuries

He coached South Africa men’s cricket team from 2011-2013.