Hyderabad, Jan 28 IANS | 11 months ago

Former South African cricketer Gary Kirsten is keen to set up a cricket academy in India, if he gets an opportunity.

The former coach of the Indian team said while nothing was "majorly" planned, this was something he was certainly looking into.

"I have been thinking about that. I would like to do it. I will have an opportunity to possibly reach out to lot of younger players in the country. If that opportunity presents itself, I would look forward to taking that opportunity," he told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.

The coach of India's 2011 World Cup winning team is already running a cricket academy in South Africa.

The former South African batsman, who was recently named coach of Delhi Daredevils for three years, said he was excited to take up his first assignment in Indian Premier League.

"I am looking forward to that. It's nice to be back in India. I left this place and people of India being very good to me and I look forward to the new challenge. IPL cricket is very different from national cricket. I look forward to experiencing that and understanding that," he said.

Kirsten, who was coach of the Indian team from 2008 to 2011, is confident that his experience in India would help him "but there are no guarantees out there in terms of performance".

Delhi Daredevils had finished at the bottom of the points table in the last IPL season.

"I always tell people that you got to come out and do hard work and give it your best shot. Sometimes when the team has not done well it is not a bad thing because it is an opportunity to improve. I am looking forward to Delhi Daredevils having a successful few years and there is lot of work we have to do. We have to put the squad together. We have to get lot of pieces of puzzle in place," he said.

Kirsten declined to answer queries about Delhi Daredevils captain Virender Sehwag, saying he would not like to comment on individuals.

He also refused to comment on the performance of the Indian team, which lost one-day series in New Zealand Tuesday.

"I watch their performances and want them to do well. I credit some good relationships with the guys. I look forward to them doing well," he said.

The South African said he enjoyed working with cricketing greats like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sehwag and V.V.S. Laxman.

On Sachin's retirement, he said this was an end of an era. Describing Sachin as an icon of the game, he said he made significant contribution to the game. "I enjoyed working with him. I learnt a lot from him. I have now got him as a close friend," he added.

Kirsten was here as brand ambassador of Mxit, South Africa's largest mobile social network, which launched mobile instant messenger application in India.

(Posted on 28-01-2014)

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