Kirsten sees broader landscape from NZ series

Gary Kirsten’s first away tour in charge of South Africa was to New Zealand earlier this year. It was an opportunity to claim the world No. 1 ranking – which would have required a 3-0 series sweep – but Kirsten had other things to think about. For him, it was the time to entrench his philosophy away from the pressures of a prying home media and parochial fans.

The trip was the first of three major blocks of time on the road in 2012. The two to come, against England and Australia, would require a certain robustness. Kirsten used New Zealand to toughen the team up by being softer than anyone would have expected.

While they prepared for the Test series, he ran a marathon. After they won in Hamilton with days to spare, he encouraged them to enjoy New Zealand’s natural wonders. The South African squad went to Lake Taupo and the Waitomo Caves. Previously they spent free time holed up in soulless hotel rooms playing video games – ask Mark Boucher and Herschelle Gibbs who once boasted that they spent 13 hours doing exactly that. Kirsten opened doors other South African management ignored. Read more
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