Kirsten trashed India in his diary

The excerpts of Gary Kirsten's diary during a tour of India in 1996, which was published in South Africa read almost like a travel warning.

updated: November 30, 2007 07:49 IST
  • Total Shares

New Delhi:

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is quite sure that former South African player Gary Kirsten will revert back with a 'yes' to the offer to become the coach of the Indian team.

However, excerpts from a tour diary written by Kirsten 10 years ago may well make him think twice about coming to the country, which in his words is full of slums, has poor quality red meat and where direct flights are a problem.

But even if Kirsten's views have changed since then, its certainly an embarrassing situation for him to now clarify that he did not like India but loves the idea of coaching the Indian team.

When Shane Warne toured India there was extensive coverage of the tins and tins of baked beans he said he needed to bring to India because he could not deal with the food here.

The Australians also complained about playing in Delhi saying it was just too polluted. And now it turns out that Gary Kirsten, the front-runner for the position of Indian Coach was also very critical of the local conditions food and travel arrangements when he visited in 1996-97.

The excerpts of his diary during a tour of India in 1996, which was published in South Africa and later reproduced in the Telegraph, read almost like a travel warning.

Kirsten wrote, "62 days in a country where westernised living conditions are regarded a luxury, is no task for the faint-hearted. Socialising in India is pretty much hotel-bound, there are no real places to go out. It gets quite boring and tedious trying to occupy yourself. It is one of the rigours of touring India."

"To spread cricket to all corners of India, we played in what could politely be classed as one-horse towns, places with more cows on the street than cars. A sense of humour is a necessity on this tour," he further wrote.

"To expect teams to perform at consistently high levels when faced with such arrangements is absurd and unfair on the players," Kirsten added.

While one could argue that these are 10-year old views and things and opinios would have changed since then. But the fact remains that the conditions continue to be tough for visitors from the West. So, is the board not worried that their chief coach might decide that travelling to one horse towns in India over two years is just too hard.

One rather interesting observation from Kirsten was about the city of Rajkot which happens to be the home to BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah.

"Its a culture shock for anyone who comes to India, am sure Gary didn't mean to be rude or anything. Other parts of the world dont really know what India is like, its actually a great place, and one of those places you must visit in your life, I have great memories here," said Lance Klusener former team-mate of Gary Kirsten.

While the Indian cricket board might not be too concerned with Gary Kirsten's tour diary from 10 years ago, there is little doubt that if the South African chooses to take up the assignment, these entries will follow the coach through out his two-year tenure here.