IPL 2024
Pakistan appoint Gary Kirsten and Jason Gillespie as head coaches for men’s team
By SMCS - Apr 29, 2024 9:20 am
Views 18

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Sunday (April 28) named Gary Kirsten and Jason Gillespie as the men’s team head coaches for different formats with the concept of split coaching as well. However, Kirsten has been roped in for the limited-overs sides while Gillespie will be at the helm of the Test team as well. Azhar Mahmood, who served as the interim head coach for the recent T20I series against New Zealand, will be the assistant coach across all formats as well. PCB chief Mohsin Khan welcomed the appointments and hoped that this move will help the team as well.

Gary Girsten
Gary Kirsten

“Jason’s coaching career has been marked by success both at the domestic and international levels, with a focus on player development and achieving excellence in team performance. Gary’s coaching career has been marked by his ability to instill a winning mentality, develop young talent, and achieve success at the highest levels of the game, making him one of the most respected and sought-after coaches in cricket,” said Mohsin.

“In this background, I have every confidence that their expertise will guide our players to reach new heights, aligning with their inherent talent and the expectations of our passionate fans. These high-quality appointments also present a remarkable opportunity for our players to glean insights from these seasoned professionals, refining their skills and fortifying their cricketing acumen,” he added.

However, both Kirsten and Gillespie have signed a two-year contract for their respective positions and it was a much-needed move for Pakistan after the conundrum of the coaching staff in the recent past. Meanwhile, Grant Bradburn, who had served as the head coach till the ODI World Cup in October-November last year, abruptly left the post in January this year, followed by Mickey Arthur (who was the team director) and batting coach Andrew Puttick as well.

Meanwhile, Gillespie has been in the coaching job for more than a decade with his most notable achievements coming with Yorkshire in the County Circuit and the Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash League as well. On the other hand, Kirsten guided India to their ODI World Cup title in 2011. His stint from 2008-11 with the Indian team saw them also reach the no.1 ranking in Test cricket. He was also a part of the Delhi and Bangalore franchises in the Indian Premier League. Currently, he is associated with the Gujarat side in the IPL as the batting coach/mentor as well.

“It’s a tremendous honour to be entrusted with the responsibility of coaching the Pakistan men’s national team in white-ball cricket and to rejoin the international cricket arena after some time. I eagerly anticipate this opportunity and aim to contribute positively to the Pakistan men’s national team in limited-overs cricket,” said Kirsten on his new job in international cricket. “One of the beautiful aspects of cricket is its universality. Across cultures, there’s a shared understanding when we discuss the game. My goal is to unite the Pakistan men’s white-ball team, harnessing their considerable talents towards a common objective, and achieving success together on the field.”

Pakistan team

“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. 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 added.

“Understanding the current state of the team and charting a path towards our desired goals is paramount. Winning ICC Events, while challenging, remains a significant objective. Whether it’s the upcoming tournament in June or events in the future, achieving success in these competitions would be a remarkable feat. My primary objective is to ensure the team operates at its optimal level. Success on the field is contingent upon the team performing at its best. Consistency and continuity are values I hold dear. While player form fluctuations are inevitable, maintaining a stable environment is crucial. I am committed to supporting players through their ups and downs, prioritising continuity in selections whenever possible,” he stated.

However, Gary Kirsten will take over his duties as the white-ball coach after the current IPL season ends and his immediate focus will be on the T20 World Cup in June this year. There is also a Champions Trophy that Pakistan are likely to host next year while the roadmap towards the next ODI World Cup in 2027 is also there. For Gillespie, it is the World Test Championship cycle that sees home series against Bangladesh and England, followed by a tour to South Africa as well.

Jason Gillespie
Jason Gillespie

“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,” said Gillespie. “I love Test cricket and being able to focus on that is something I like very much. I also love the fact that there is so much talent in Pakistan. I like to think that I can help in some way to grow and develop the players. I want to win Tests – that is why I am taking this role. I love winning and I know we have got the skill to make that happen.”

“The ICC World Test Championship is the ultimate in the Test format. I understand this cycle is likely to prove too great a task as we would need to win a lot of matches in a short space of time to have any chance of making the final, but aspiring to be in that final, and to winning it, has to be a medium- to long-term goal for us. Ultimately, it is all about playing the style of cricket we want to play, one that helps us win matches, excites the public and puts smiles on the faces of everyone connected with Pakistan cricket,” he shared.

“Within Pakistan we have a number of high-quality fast bowlers and being able to utilise them will be a key part of any success we enjoy. But we have quality in all departments – pace, spin, batting and keeping. We have all bases covered. It is exciting to know we have that talent and I am looking forward to working with such talented players. I understand there will be expectation and that comes with the role. All I can do is to take it in my stride and I would not have taken on the job if I did not think I could deal with it,” he concluded.