Kirsten to link up with Pakistan before T20I series in England

Gary Kirsten will start his two-year stint as the head coach of the Pakistan men’s national side on May 19 in Leeds, the PCB announced in Lahore on Tuesday.

This will give him three days with the players and other members of the coaching staff before the first game of the four-match T20I series against England, at Headingley on May 22. The series will be Pakistan’s last before the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and the USA, where they begin their campaign with a game against USA in Dallas on June 6.

“These are indeed thrilling times for Pakistan cricket, with a new administration and players who are driven to deliver solid results,” Kirsten said in a statement. “The upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 presents a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our skills and uphold Pakistan’s legacy as a formidable force in cricket.

“However, success will require collective effort, meticulous planning and unwavering support for one another. With 19 other teams vying for the title, we must consistently outperform our rivals to realise our aspirations.

“I’ve missed the experience of coaching at the international level and nurturing talented players to reach their full potential”

Gary Kirsten

“On a personal level, I’ve missed the experience of coaching at the international level and nurturing talented players to reach their full potential. I’m committed to working closely with the team to elevate their game and bring joy to fans around the world.”

Kirsten’s most famous coaching achievement came with India, with whom he was head coach from 2008 to 2011 and won the 2011 ODI World Cup. He was head coach of South Africa for the two years that followed, and is currently batting coach of Gujarat Titans in the IPL.

The PCB has also brought in Simon Helmot and David Reid as fielding coach and mental performance coach respectively. The board said Reid would join the side on May 20 and continue until the end of the World Cup, while Helmot will link up with the side on May 31. Aftab Khan, currently the fielding coach of the side, will “assume responsibilities of high-performance coach” for the World Cup once Helmot takes charge.

“Ensuring the mental health and well-being of our elite cricketers is not just a priority, but a fundamental commitment,” Mohsin Naqvi, the PCB chairman, said. “Recognising that their performance on the field is intricately linked to their mental state, we have taken decisive action to provide them with the best support possible.

“That’s why we’ve brought on board David Reid, a seasoned expert with nearly two decades of experience as a qualified mental health clinician. His track record speaks volumes, having successfully worked with world-record holders, Olympians and top-tier sports franchises like Chennai Super Kings, the Melbourne Stars and the Essendon Football Club in the AFL.

“With his expertise in enhancing both functioning and performance, we are confident that our players will receive the comprehensive care they need to thrive both on and off the field.”

Kirsten and Jason Gillespie were announced as Pakistan’s next white-ball and red-ball head coaches respectively last month. Gillespie will arrive in Pakistan in July, the PCB said, in time for the World Test Championship series at home against Bangladesh.

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