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Sunday, November 24, 2019

mental conditioning ! ~ players opting rest for mental health reasons !!


1.    Can you identify this person speaking with Rahul Dravid  ?
2.    How did Indian cricket react after the abrupt resignation of Greg Chappell, the elegant Aussie batsman and the famously opinionated coach with a king-sized ego who failed?
3.    Do you know or remember that Pongal Test in 1973  [Test no. 708] against England at Chennai when India won by 4 wickets – who were the fast bowlers who opened the bowling for India ?


Start with answer to Q 3 above.  That was a time when Indian spin trio / quartet was dominating … [Bedi, Chandra, Prasanna & Venkat] .. in that famous test at Chepauk, India opened with Eknath Solkar and Sunil Gavaskar, if you are wondering – I am speaking about the bowling attack .. Solkar bowled 2 in the 1st and 2 in the 2nd.  Sunil Gavaskar  bowled 2 in the 1st – none in the 2nd as Bishan Bedi opened the bowling in the second innings.  India bowling has come a long long way since the emergence of Kapil Dev who bowled fast and made opponents scurry for helmet cover.

In the Pink ball test Kolkatta, India completed yet another innings-win.  India's home season in Tests this year has been short - five matches, all done in under two months or so. They have delivered on the dominance that was expected of them, but some new methods and some new faces were introduced.   It's phenomenal that  todays victory was given by pace bowlers  - Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, and Umesh Yadav.   This home season, India's three spinners took 37 wickets between them. The three fast bowlers took 59, that too in the absence of strike bowler Jasprit Bumrah. They also managed to win a Test without a wicket from their spinners, which is also a first at home.  19 - Wickets taken by India's fast bowlers in this Test, which is the most by them in a home Test. The previous highest was 17 wickets, also at Eden Gardens, against Sri Lanka in 2017. This was the third time India's seamers have taken 19 or more wickets in a Test, and all have come in the last two years.  .. .. and to think that Umesh Yadav was always in and out of the team, might get selected in a home test, but would end up bowling 8 or 10 overs .. .. ! – what a transformation by Indian pacers !

Away, Glenn Maxwell has been praised for his "courage" after opting to step away from the game due to mental health reasons. He confided in Australia men's head coach Justin Langer before the opening game of the ongoing T20I series against Sri Lanka, in Adelaide, that he was struggling, with Langer saying there were times over the last 12 months when he thought things might not be quite right for him.

Back home, Ambati Rayudu has opted out of representing Hyderabad in the upcoming Ranji Trophy season. Rayudu had come out of retirement only in August, a few months after he had 'retired from all formats' following his non-selection in India's squad at the 2019 World Cup. According to an interview with Telangana Today, Rayudu said "a lot of politics" in the team made it "uncomfortable" for him to represent Hyderabad. Rayudu, who was Hyderabad captain in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, said: "In all honesty, I was looking forward to play for Hyderabad in Ranji Trophy this season. But unfortunately, the script did not go on the expected lines. There is a lot of politics in the team and the atmosphere was not conducive for good cricket. I felt very uncomfortable." Rayudu even tweeted to Telangana's Municipal Administration and Urban Development minister KT Rama Rao, asking him to look into the "rampant corruption prevailing at HCA." Rayudu was also displeased at the choice of Arjun Yadav, the former Hyderabad allrounder, as coach. Rayudu claimed Arjun became coach due to the influence of his father, the former BCCI interim president Shivlal Yadav.  A decade and half ago, Arjun was the Hyderabad captain and was involved   in a physical altercation during a Ranji Trophy match.

If you ever thought that men only are folding .. ..  Australia and Melbourne Renegades women's allrounder Sophie Molineux became  the latest cricketer to step away from the game for mental health issues. Molineux has played all 10 of the Renegades WBBL games so far this season, as she was pushing to return to the national side ahead of the T20 World Cup. But she has withdrawn from Saturday's Melbourne derby against the Stars at Eastern Oval in Ballarat in order to focus on her mental health and wellbeing. This follows on from Victorian male trio Glenn Maxwell, Nic Maddinson and Will Pucovski all withdrawing from Australia and Australia A commitments for mental health reasons, although it is understood all three men were suffering from different mental health challenges.

Pip Inge, Australia Women's Team Doctor, said that Cricket Australia will monitor Molineux closely. "Sophie has made the decision to take a break from cricket and we are providing her with the support she needs," Inge said. "The welfare of our players is a priority and we are proud of the brave decision by Sophie to step away from the game."

Getting back to those Qs at the start – after Greg Chappel fiasco, came Gary Kirsten, the reticent South African with an ugly batting style and no coaching experience. After Chappell’s restless radicalism — in the late Peter Roebuck’s words — Indian cricket wanted peace, a gush of cold water on their burnt fingers. Sachin Tendulkar, in his first meeting with the new coach,  reportedly  made a very humane request: “Gary, I want you to be my friend.” Still recovering from the insecurity epidemic of the Chappell era, the Indian dressing room longed for a warm hug.

Kirsten knew that, he was prepared. He brought along with him his affable friend Paddy Upton, a fitness trainer with a PhD in sports science, a lifelong student of philosophy and spirituality, leadership coach, mind guru, passionate surfer; while a social worker, Upton was almost stabbed while reforming Cape Town’s street kids and backpacked without shoes for six months while discovering Southeast Asia by himself. By the time he left India, after almost three years, he would also be a World Cup winner. He would find mention in the credits that rolled after that magical April 2, 2011 at Wankhede.  ‘the barefoot coach’ is a book written by Paddy Upton, Team India’s mental conditioning coach.  Mental coaching is a broad term used to describe consultants who use a psycho-educational model to develop the mental/psychological aspects of performance achievement.

Sounds interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
24th Nov. 2019.

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