Dubai: World renowned coach Gary Kirsten feels that South African team skipper AB de Villiers is the best player in the world today.
In an exclusive interview to Gulf News after attending a meet and greet session with cricket fans at the The Huddle Sports Bar & Grill in Dubai’s Citymax Hotel, Kirsten spoke at length about various aspects of the game.
Answering a query as to what factors make De Villiers special, Kirsten said: “De Villiers is special because he can play all three formats of the game very comfortably and can adapt to different conditions and play very different ways. He had a massive series in (India) and is the best player in the world today.
When asked whether he as a coach supports the kind of aggressive batting exhibited by De Villiers, Kirsten said: “De Villiers has always been a special player. It takes time to build the confidence to play those shots and he always had the ability to do it.”
Legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar had hailed Kirsten as the coach who had helped him perform consistently. So does Kirsten believe that players like the Indian icon are missing among the new set of players. “The landscape of the game has changed (since Tendulkar’s retirement) and we are getting different types of players now. Players who can adapt to all three formats of the game are the best players in the world. A lot of players are now specialised players with some very good at Test cricket while some only good in T20 and One dayers. A player who can adapt to all three formats of the game makes a complete player,” said Kirsten
Talking about the ongoing South Africa tour of India, Kirsten said: “Now South African players are much more familiar with the Indian conditions than they used to be in the past due to the Indian Premier League, so that is a huge contributing factor in their performance. I think the South African team has always played well in India. This is the best One-day series they have won. I think South Africa has got some great one day players in the team.”
Kirsten expressed his disapproval of the Mohali Test match wicket. “It’s always a risk when you have Test matches ending in two and a half to three days. I don’t believe in standardising pitches but I do believe that each country must have their own unique style of pitches. So you’ve got to be careful to take a pitch to a level where Test matches ending really early.”
So which team can go on to become the No 1 team in the future? “I think all teams are fairly competitive and teams go through cycles. A lot of teams had many of the top players retiring towards the end of the world. The Proteas (South Africa) is the most experienced unit in the world.”