Drawn Test series relieves Kirsten; admits of divided loyalties

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New Delhi, Apr 16 (UNI) Praising India's zeal to win after being 0-1 down against South Africa, Gary Kirsten expressed satisfaction with his first official assignment as the coach.

''Relief is the most obvious word which springs to mind after my first Test series in charge of Team India,'' Kirsten wrote in his official website.

''I would have hated to start with a loss and, although a series win would have been preferable, to draw the series after being 0-1 down is satisfying,'' he added.

The former South African opener further added that although India's preparations for the Ahmedabad Test were not 'ideal', the home team showed great determination to make a come back and win the third Test inside three days to square the series.

The Indian captain Anil Kumble who had to sit out of the third Test because of a groin injury also came in for praise from Kirsten.

''He is one of the most dedicated cricketers I have ever met and I doubt I have seen a man more determined to play.

''But he asked himself the ultimate question: 'Could I bowl 20 consecutive overs?' Most people in his situation would have ducked that question, but he didn't. It was a courageous and wise decision that only he could make.

''His team-mates will respect him all the more for making it,'' he wrote.

However, he admitted being caught in the dilemma where he was not certain about his loyalties with South Afica being his first opponent as India's coach.

''I won't ever be dishonest: a very small part of me wondered before this series whether I might have divided loyalties.

''Well, I suffered and agonised over every ball as though my bloodline extended back for 100 years in India. And it was good to feel like that,'' he mentioned.

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