As cricket becomes more competitive and teams fight tooth and nail for every run and wicket, there is most emphasis on preparation. Some follow technology, others on old-school training. For the New Zealand side, they have an Olympian on board to help them make the cut.
Chris Donaldson, 41, is the strength and conditioning coach of the New Zealand side. Not too long ago, he was representing his country at the 1996 and 2000 Summer Olympics in the 100m and 200m.
He still holds the national record in New Zealand in the 200m category.
It has been a long time since then and he has turned his focus onto making other athletes as fit as him.
“I was very lucky then, and had the good fortune of having the best coaches around me. It is with that understanding that I chose to do what I do now,” he says.
“A good coach is very important for an athlete. He does not just ask his ward to run, but teaches him how to and in the most optimum way. It is what I now teach the cricketers. The bowlers need to how to go about running,” he added.
While growing up in Christchurch, Donaldson played every sport, but chose sprinting as he was a natural at it.
“I had the good fortune of participating in the Olympics. It is till date the proudest achievement of my life. I made to the second round at both events. It wasn’t the best performance, but I was in competitive field so cut me some slack,” he quips.
“I still hold the national record in the 200m. It is something that I hold dear.”
He was at the centre of the action during the 2015 World Cup, when New Zealand made the final. However, his biggest worry is not the big tournaments which he were “quite stressful”.
With cricketers though, his biggest worry is the constant travel and adjustments to different conditions.
“In India the need is hydration and the right kind of exercise. Core training is essential. I see quite a few boys in the Indian side who have become very athletic. The likes of Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja do standout,” he adds.
Asked who he thought was the fittest in the New Zealand side, he flatly refuses. “All of them are working well and improving quickly. That’s all you get,” he quips again.