Picture of Gary Kirsten

Gary Kirsten

Batting style:
Left Handed bat
Bowling style:
Off break
Played for:
South Africa, South Africa A, South Africa Pres XI, Western Province, Western Province B
Roles played:
Ex Skipper-Test | Batsman
Home country:
South Africa
November 23, 1967, Cape Town


A left-hander with a batting technique of his own, Gary Kirsten was known as one of the strongest pillars of the South African top-order. The only thing that distinguished him from others was his calm-headed and determined approach towards the game of cricket. Kirsten’s game revolved around his basic strengths and weaknesses and his adaptability to different conditions.

Kirsten debuted against Australia in Melbourne in 1993 and over the years, proved to be the most organised batsman in the South African dressing room. His ability to concentrate for longer periods saw him becoming the leading South African run-scorer and centurion in Tests, before it was surpassed by Jacques Kallis. His career-best knock of 275 came in 14 and half hours, the second-longest innings in terms of duration in the history of cricket. This happened when South Africa followed on against England at Kingsmead in 1999-00. Later, in 2003, he returned to England to haunt them and in the Headingly Test, scored a crucial 130 that helped South Africa win the Test by 191 runs. Where other batsmen struggled against the turning ball, Kirsten enjoyed particular success in sub-continent conditions. He averaged 52.33 on the Indian soil with a highest score of 133, while the average got even better in Pakistan with a staggering 88.16. In his final Test before retirement from international cricket, he hit a match-winning knock of 76 that helped South Africa win the match and level the series against New Zealand in 2004.

Post retirement, he was the batting consultant of the Warriors for some time and later, in 2006, he set up his own Cricket Academy in Cape Town. In 2008, he was elected to coach the Indian cricket team and over the next two years, changed the fortunes of the team. A patient person, Kirsten’s personality was often reflected off-the-field when he mentored the Indian team. Under him, India did extremely well as they gradually scaled the No.1 rank in Test cricket. The biggest fruit of his efforts were reaped in 2011, when the Indian team won the ICC Cricket World Cup. In skipper MS Dhoni’s words, Kirsten was “the best thing to happen to Indian cricket”. The World Cup was his final assignment with the Indian team and thereafter, Kirsten denied continuing as the coach owing to family commitments. He was later named coach of the South African national team in 2011.

Fast Facts

  • Gary Kirsten was the first South African to represent the Proteas in 100 Test matches.
  • He holds the record for the highest innings by a South African in a One Day International of 188 not out.
  • He was the first batsman to score a hundred against each of the other nine Test playing nations.
  • Kirsten is one of four brothers to have played first-class cricket. One of his brothers, Peter, also represented South Africa.
  • In 2006, two years after his retirement, Kirsten along with Paddy Upton and Dale Williams formed a company called Performance Zone.



  Matches Innings Runs NO Avg. SR 100's 50's HS
Test 101 176 7289 15 45.27 43.43 21 34 275
ODI 185 185 6798 19 40.95 72.04 13 45 188*
  Matches Innings Balls Runs Wickets BBI BBM Avg. Econ. 4w 5w 10w Extras
Test 101 15 349 142 2 1/0 / 71.00 2.44 0 0 0 0
ODI 185 3 30 23 0 0/6 / - 4.60 0 0 0 0
  Catches Stumpings Runouts
Test 83 0 5
ODI 61 1 15
  Matches Won Lost Tie No Result Win percentage
Test 1 0 0 0 1 0


South Africa Vs Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Melbourne - Victoria - Dec 26, 1993
Last played:
South Africa Vs New Zealand at Basin Reserve, Wellington - Mar 26, 2004
South Africa Vs Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), Sydney - Dec 14, 1993
Last played:
South Africa Vs Sri Lanka at Kingsmead, Durban - Mar 03, 2003