Thursday, 5 January 2012

What ails the Indian cricket team abroad

Of late, the Indian cricket team has demonstrated that while they are almost unassailable at home, they are equally vulnerable playing abroad. Why is this so? Is it lack of technique for playing fast zippy rising deliveries, or is it just lack of mental conditioning. Watching them play, earlier against England, and now in Australia, its clear that its bit of both. In fact Gary Kirsten, the erstwhile Indian coach, recognized this need for mental conditioning for the Indian cricket team, much earlier, and requisitioned the services of a full time psychologist for them, as well as a mental conditioning or wellness expert who trained them to keep their confidence up in tough conditions. In private interviews, one gets to hear that before going in to bat, and even during batting, Sehwag keeps on singing Hindi film songs,Sachin also takes the help of music via headphones just before getting in to bat, to keep his nerves in order. Little wonder then, that this weak link of the Indian cricket team has been exploited by foreign teams when playing away from India.

Another bogey of our cricket team is, their inability to play the short and rising deliveries. Most of the Indians are used to playing on flat placid horrendious cricket pitches in India, where the ball comes comfortably at a good playable height, and the batsmen are comfortable playing it. However, in conditions abroad, where the pitches are green and the ball travels at amazing speeds, besides rising awkwardly, the Indians are left groping and sometimes have trouble sighting the ball. In fact their reflexes are so slow, by playing in slow pitches at home that the ball invariably outwits the bat. Even established players like Sachin, Dravid, Laxman and Gambhir are finding it difficult to face the rising deliveries and are forced to commit some mistake so that they end up losing their wickets.

Probably the solution lies in giving them ample practice on green top pitches in India before they leave for a tour abroad. They should be made to play against fast rising deliveries so that they can play them with ease. If need be they could requisition the services of fast nippy bowlers from foreign countries to bowl at them and get them the necessary match practice. Mental conditioning is equally important and the players' need to come to grips with the fact that they would have to face tough conditions like sledging, both on and off the field. The cricketers need to be given feel good lessons on a regular basis, and should be kept away from unsavory controversies. While wives could be allowed on foreign tours, care should be taken to see that players' don't spend night outs partying on a crucial match day. Can we hope to see better performances in future ? Here's hoping so. On an optimistic note, its Cheers from my side !   

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