Royal Challengers Bangalore have appointed former South Africa batsman Gary Kirsten as the coach and mentor of the side starting from IPL 2019. Kirsten will take over from Daniel Vettori, who transitioned from player to coach at the beginning of IPL 2013 and spent a total of eight years with the franchise.
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Kirsten’s appointment arrives as pressure mounts on the franchise to land an IPL silverware. RCB are one of only three franchises that played the first season in 2008 but are yet to win the title. After a run to the final of IPL 2016, RCB have won just nine games across the next two seasons, finishing eighth and sixth respectively.
Kirsten was appointed as the team’s batting coach ahead of the 2018 season and it is understood his elevation to the top post was endorsed by franchise captain Virat Kohli determined to end the team’s rut in the competition.
Delighted with his new role, Kirsten said: “I had the privilege of coaching with the RCB team last season under head coach Daniel Vettori and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I look forward to continuing the journey with RCB and doing my best to help the franchise reach its potential. I want to thank the team management for considering me in a leadership position with the franchise and I look forward to a successful few years.”
Kirsten has worked in close capacity with Kohli during the former’s tenure as the head coach of the India team until 2011. After taking up a similar role with the South Africa team, he ventured into the T20 landscape with Delhi Daredevils in 2013. But his three-year contract with the Delhi franchise was terminated after two sub-par seasons during which the Daredevils, another trophy-less team, managed only seven wins and finished bottom of the table each time. He also enjoyed a stint with the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League.
Kirsten’s first task will be to reassess this current squad and hope to address the problem areas – predominantly on the bowling side – at the auction, likely to be staged early 2019.
“I am extremely grateful for the eight years I have spent with RCB, as a player and a coach and I wish the franchise all the best moving forward,” said Daniel Vettori, the outgoing coach.