A young boy from from Khayelitsha near Cape Town enjoying activities presented by the Gary Kirsten Foundation. Photo: supplied

CAPE TOWN – Former South African star batsman Gary Kirsten is continuing to share his immense knowledge of the game and at present is coaching in the Cape Town suburb of Khayelitsha where he is using cricket to change hundreds of lives.

Kirsten played 101 Tests and 185 one-day internationals for South Africa, and scored 14,087 international runs. 

Post-retirement, he has taken up coaching roles across the globe, including guided India to the ICC Cricket World Cup title in 2011

But far away from the international scene, in Khayelitsha, Kirsten is working towards changing the lives of kids through cricket. 

Gary Kirsten, founder of the Gary Kirsten Foundation, has played 101 Tests and 185 one-day internationals for South Africa. Photo: twitter.com/ICC
Gary Kirsten, founder of the Gary Kirsten Foundation, has played 101 Tests and 185 one-day internationals for South Africa. Photo: twitter.com/ICC

When he first arrived in this small town, six-seven years ago, he contacted the principal of one of the schools, and found out there was no sports facility available for the kids.

From having “no appetite for the game”, the town is now attracting hundreds of kids to participate every week. Kirsten's goal now is to establish a “cricket excellence programme”.

“There used to be no appetite for the game here, and five years later, we've got 450 kids playing cricket every week,” Kirsten said. “There's a lot of talent in young cricketers here, and every year, two or three of them are getting scholarships to get to the elite schools in Cape Town. 

“So that's a great opportunity for them, but I think for me, I'd love to create a cricket excellence programme here, at one of the schools which could be recognised as one of the top-end cricket schools in the country.” 

Children from Khayelitsha near Cape Town enjoying activities presented by the Gary Kirsten Foundation. Photo: supplied
Children from Khayelitsha near Cape Town enjoying activities presented by the Gary Kirsten Foundation. Photo: supplied

African News Agency (ANA)