Pretoria: President Pratibha Patil today credited South African cricketing legend Gary Kirsten for coaching the Indian cricket team to World Cup glory last year, drawing loud cheers, including from her South African counterpart Jacob Zuma.
Speaking after delegation-level talks with Zuma, Patil referred to the sporting ties between India and South Africa, and recognised the "South African hand" behind India's World Cup victory.
"We are mindful of the sporting ties between the two countries, especially in cricket," she said.
"I would like to recognise the South African hand in the form of coach Gary Kirsten in ensuring victory for India in the cricket World Cup in 2011," the President went on to say.
Patil drew a loud applause from those present. Zuma and several other South African officials present were seen clapping.
Kirsten played 101 Test matches and 185 One-day Internationals for South Africa between 1993 and 2004. He scored over 7,000 Test runs and over 6,000 ODI runs.
The opening batsman took up the role of India's cricket coach in 2008. He ended his association with the Indian cricket team on a triumphant note after the World Cup victory last year.