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Australia tour helping India in World Cup: Gary Kirsten

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New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) Former India cricket coach Gary Kirsten believes that the tour of Australia had helped the defending champions to get acclimatised to the World Cup conditions Down Under.

India spent two-and-a-half months in the Australian summer, playing four Tests and a tri-series involving hosts Australia and England. The team fared dismally, losing the Test series 0-2 and not even managing a single win in the tri-series.

The South African, however, feels the time spent there will aid India in defending the World Cup crown.

“I would like to think that the time spent there will come as an advantage. You are getting two and a half months of game time in those conditions. It has got to help your game,” Kirsten, who guided India to the 2011 World Cup victory at home, told IANS in an interview.

“The only thing is time away from home and that is also a factor you cannot discount. It isn’t easy travelling like that. But to have a chance to kind of play all your cricket where the World Cup is going to be held has got to be quite an advantage, surely,” said the 47-year-old.

Kirsten’s words are proving to be right. India started their campaign on a winning note when they drubbed arch-rivals Pakistan by 76 runs in their World Cup opener at the Adelaide Oval Feb 15.

The triumph helped them keep a perfect tennis scoreline of 6-0 in World Cup meetings against the 1992 champions. India next face South Africa at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) Sunday.

But doesn’t spending so much time away from home bring on fatigue?

“Mental fatigue may be. They could freshen up and see their families but not physical fatigue. We are in the professional era and you have got to manage that,” said Kirsten, who played 101 Test matches and 185 One-Day Internationals (ODI) from 1993 to 2004.

The former left-handed opening batsman insisted on the importance of squad rotation.

“We run squad systems now. You rest your key players when you need to. You are running a squad and not just eleven players who you bring in and out of every game. Those days are over. It doesn’t happen any more. Managing the squad is the key.”

Kirsten is in India for the Indian Premier League (IPL) players’ auction which took place in Bengaluru Monday. The South African is the head coach of the Delhi Daredevils.

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