Former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and then Team India coach Gary Kirsten’s partnership helped the Men In Blue achieve superb results, including ICC World Cup trimup in 2011. The understanding between Dhoni and Kirsten was perfect and it played an important role in helping Team India scale new heights.
Speaking about Dhoni in a recent interview the former South African opener noted that the former India captain’s loyalty made him one of the most impressive people he had met so far in his life.
“One of the most impressive people I have met, he is a great leader of people, he’s got incredible presence as a leader, but the most important thing is that he is loyal,” Kirsten said about Dhoni on The RK Show on YouTube.
Kirsten then went on to recall an incident when Dhoni decided to skip an event after Kirsten and two other South Africans in the coaching staff were not allowed to attend the event in Bengaluru.
“I’ll never forget, just before the World Cup, we were invited in Bangalore to go to the flight school, to go and kind of have a look at that. Obviously, we had a couple of foreigners in our support staff, and we got word back on the morning before the whole team was meant to go – and everyone was looking forward to the event – that the three South Africans, which were myself, Paddy Upton and Eric Simmons, weren’t going to be allowed into the flight school because it was seen as a potential security risk. So MS cancelled the whole event. He just said, ‘These are my people. If they’re not allowed in, none of us are going’. And that was what he was about,” Kirsten said.
“He was very loyal, to me, and I think he saw as well, there were times when we didn’t always win games and we’d have some tough times. We’d spend a lot of time, just one on one together, talking through, taking the team forward. I think we built a strong relationship in the three years we had together,” Kirsten added.