Cape Town: When Gary Kirsten entered the room where he would be named South Africa's coach, he had a familiar look on his face. It wasn't the beaming smile he had had during India's World Cup victory celebrations a little over two months ago. Kirsten wore an expression of determination; the sort of determination that once helped him make South Africa's highest Test score - 275 against England at Kingsmead a decade ago.
After his success with India - he helped them become the No. 1 Test side and ended his tenure with World Cup glory - the expectations in South Africa are tremendous. Kirsten's reputation as the hardworking back-room boy, who threw thousands of balls until his shoulder hurt, and got the best out of some of the most powerful personalities in world cricket, has earned him immense respect at home. His winning of the World Cup, a success that has painfully eluded South Africa, has turned Kirsten into a miracle man. Many hope his quiet, precise and methodical approach, which worked so well in India, will be superimposed on South Africa and will result in a golden age.
But Graeme Smith's South Africa, and now also AB de Villiers', is a very different team from MS Dhoni's India, and Kirsten's tactics will need altering. Dhoni was the only leader Kirsten had to deal with it, and Kirsten called him the best captain on the international circuit after their World Cup triumph. Dhoni and Smith are extremely different as leaders of men. Where Dhoni is suave, Smith is brash. Dhoni appears a masterful tactician; Smith is driven by gut and heart.