11 May 2013

Gary Kirsten to leave Proteas

4:37 pm on 11 May 2013

South Africa cricket coach Gary Kirsten will not renew his contract after next month's Champions Trophy, citing family reasons in a surprise decision.

Kirsten, the most successful coach in test and limited overs cricket in recent years, said he spent 250 days away from home last year and needed to spend more time with his young family.

His contract runs out in August.

The Champions Trophy in England and Wales will be the last tournament in charge of the side for the 45-year-old, who took up his post in 2011.

Kirsten led India to World Cup glory in 2011 and later that year returned home to coach South Africa having been singled out as the man who could lead his native country to similar success in the 2015 event.

His tenure has been lauded as a great success as he helped South Africa to the top of the International Cricket Council (ICC) test rankings after series wins over England, Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan in the last 12 months.

A successor is expected to be announced soon.

Kirsten opened the batting for South Africa between 1993 and 2004, averaging more than 40 in both tests and ODIs.

After his retirement from playing, he set up an academy in Cape Town and in late 2007 was named coach of India, commuting between his home and the sub-continent to guide the team.

Kirsten, who has two young sons and a daughter, has spoken often in interviews of the difficulty of juggling family life with the travel demands of international cricket.