Coaching in T20 cricket more like football, NFL, basketball, says Gary Kirsten

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Coaching in T20 cricket more like football, NFL, basketball, says Gary Kirsten

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SportsCafe Desk

01/13/2018

Former India coach Gary Kirsten believes that the dynamic decision-making skills required in T20 cricket make the coaching role as challenging as "modern sports" like NFL, basketball, and football. The Hobart Hurricanes coach also revealed that data is becoming more and more relevant in this format.

The former South African star is getting acquainted to the paces of Australia’s Big Bash League at the moment where his team, Hobart Hurricanes, has done well so far, winning four of the six matches played. Coming from the post of South Africa’s head coach, where he was at the helm for three years, Kirsten believes that he can still add value to a domestic league side, where the campaign is as short as three months.

However, the 50-year-old is of the opinion that a coach is more like a leader in a league T20 side alongside the skipper, whose creativity requires decision-making skills at a fast-paced platform compared to other formats, especially Test cricket. He also compared it to modern sports where the reliance on the coach or the manager is higher than in cricket.

“The game's moving very quickly in a T20 game, requiring a lot of different skills and also decision-making. There's always a question mark over the role of a coach in cricket. Cricket is moving closer to modern sports,” said Kirsten in an interview with ESPN.

"If you take Major League Baseball, if you take NFL, if you take basketball around the world, if you take football around the world, you just have to look at the role of the coach or manager within those sports. They play a fairly significant role. I think cricket's moving in that direction, in T20 cricket."

The short format of T20 has made data incredibly relevant in the modern era and teams are building most of their strategies based on the data. While numbers and figures also have their impact in ODIs, Kirsten believes that Test cricket has remained as mystic as ever.

“There is some information that's becoming compelling, in my view. The question is how you decode the information to build it into your team strategy. I think coaches and teams are getting really good at that. The other thing is that, as long as the information is compelling, you can run with it… Test cricket unfolds in a different way… players, coaches and experts will always default to what those patterns and trends have been. It hasn't really changed over many, many years. You do get some great teams that have tried to shift it a little bit, but it's kind of pretty much stayed fairly stable for a long period of time,” Kirsten said.

Kirsten has recently been appointed as the batting mentor of Royal Challenger Bangalore, which would go through a major reshuffle in the upcoming mega-auction. Though Daniel Vettori is the head coach, whom Ashish Nehra (bowling mentor) and Kirsten will report to, the former Indian coach believes that a mentor can hardly bring technical changes in a short tournament in this format.

“No, not at all. The question is, can you bring in a new, or upgraded, skill in the middle of a tournament?...I still think there's a fair amount of technical work that can unfold, but I think it's difficult for players - they're playing three formats of the game… So everyone comes together for a short period and then they start working on their skills like two weeks before the tournament starts,” he added.

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