My job as RCB coach was on the line from Day 1, reveals Gary Kirsten
Gary Kirtsen replaced Daniel Vettori as RCB coach ahead of IPL 2019|
Former Team India coach Gary Kirsten has revealed that his role as Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s mentor and coach was on the line since the word go. Kirsten added that the Bengaluru-based franchise are in urgent need of setting a ‘family culture’ which is followed by the most successful IPL teams.
Former New Zealand cricketer Daniel Vettori, who was associated with RCB for eight years, was sacked as Bengaluru head coach in 2018. Following that, Gary Kirsten was appointed as mentor and coach of the Bengaluru-based franchise ahead of the 2019 IPL edition. Kirsten was first added to the RCB camp as the batting coach but later promoted as head coach replacing Vettori. However, as RCB failed to make it to the IPL playoffs in the 12th edition, RCB sacked Kirsten and appointed ex Aussie batsman Simon Katich to take over the South African.
Kirsten opened up about his time in the RCB camp and criticized their habit of shifting team culture every season. The former South Africa cricketer pointed out that the two most successful teams in the IPL - CSK and Mumbai Indians- have maintained a ‘family culture’ which, he feels, RCB is in desperate need of.
“Time, biggest difference (between coaching an international team and an IPL franchise). It’s very difficult to build an identity with a team, with a diverse group of players, and to build something that can transcend time. If you take the most successful franchises, what they have done well, the Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings, they have been able to build time into their program,” Kirsten said on The RK Show.
“So, from one IPL season to the next, the same philosophies, the same cultures apply. So to shift a culture like RCB, which I think does require a culture shift, it takes time. The bottom line is that your job is on the line from game one. So, when there’s pressure on performance, you start to crisis-manage and then you are gone."
In the 2019 edition of the IPL, RCB lost their first six fixtures before opening their account. However, they went on to win five out of their next seven games. Kirsten further revealed that he had a great time as coach of the franchise and that he got fired from such a job was disappointing.
“I think there’s a lot of different reasons (why RCB haven’t won the IPL title). Last year, we missed the playoffs by one point. I had my most enjoyable coaching year, with RCB last year, and I got fired. We lost our first six games in a row and then we won five out of our next seven and there was a rained-out game, so effectively we won five out of our next six. I kind of felt that we were starting to move in a direction where how we wanted to build an identity in the team started to realise itself. The problem with IPL is that everything is over so quickly and then everyone does a kind of debrief of the season and if the season hasn’t gone well, there has to be a change. And then you move on to new set of practitioners, which I think is the worst thing to do.
“And with RCB, what we were certainly trying to do last year was trying to introduce that the best we could. The focus of attention was lesser on Virat and lesser on AB [de Villiers], and we wanted to bring in some other superstars into the team. We wanted other guys to be recognised for their performances. But that takes time to build,” he added.