Saturday 1 December 2007 

Kirsten Closer To Being Named As New India Coach

South African Gary Kirsten is almost certain to take over as India coach but a formal announcement could take another week, a senior board official said on Saturday.

"His appointment is more or less confirmed," board secretary Niranjan Shah told reporters after a meeting of office-bearers.

"It will take another eight days to announce. Some nitty-gritty issues have to be finalised."

The former South Africa opening batsman emerged the favourite for the job after he was interviewed on Monday by the board's special coach committee.

Kirsten, 40, has said in media interviews he was ready to take over and the Indian board, keen to fill the post before the Australia tour starting later this month, have also expressed satisfaction with his interview.

India have searched for a successor to former Australia skipper Greg Chappell, who quit in March following the team's shock first round elimination in the one-day World Cup.

The board have been very cautious this time, to avoid the kind of embarrassment they suffered when South African Graham Ford turned down the offer after giving his initial consent.

Kirsten, a prolific left-handed batsman, played 101 tests and 185 one-dayers, scoring around 7,000 runs in both forms of the game before his retirement in 2004. He currently runs an academy in his hometown, Cape Town.

Current cricket manager Lalchand Rajput, a former India batsman, is expected to be named the team's assistant coach.

© Reuters 2007