For a team going into a contest after winning their last three Test series against the opposition, England aren’t exactly oozing with confidence ahead of a fresh clash against India. If anything, they look rattled ahead of the first Test starting in Rajkot on Wednesday.
So, it comes as no surprise that the team management has asked for David Young, the lead performance psychologist, to join the squad in India.
Bangladesh spinners dented the confidence of the English batsmen in the second Test last week, and wounds inflicted in that clash will still be fresh as the visitors go into the first Test without a warm-up tie after landing in India.
It could be even more daunting as the England batsmen will be taking guard against R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who have only built their reputation as hard to tackle at home after their brilliant show against New Zealand.
The wickets won’t be any easy for the visitors. They can be assured all five Test venues will churn out low and turning tracks, playing to the home team’s strengths.
Then there will be the rigour of a long tour to deal with. The team will play five Tests, three ODIs and three T20s. Add to that the challenge of criss-crossing the subcontinent.
It’s a situation where a couple of defeats can dent the morale of the players. Besides brushing up their technique, the players will also have to be strong in their mind to put up a competent show. Thus, the SOS to Young is understandable.
“Young would join the team for second or third Test. He does not travel every time with the team. He is only made available if the players want him,” an ECB spokesperson told HT on the sidelines of the team’s practice session at the Brabourne Stadium on Saturday.
The last time Young accompanied the team was during this year’s home series against Pakistan, which they drew 2-2.
With several critics writing off England’s chances of repeating their 2012-13 Test series win in India, Cook is confident of what his team is capable of achieving. “I remember a press conference after the first Test match (during the 2012-13 series) when everyone was talking about ‘how you are going to stop India from winning 4-0’. We managed to turn it around and win 2-1. So, anything is possible,” Cook said.