There are tired and jaded bodies in the Indian ranks. Quite a few came to the World Cup with some niggle or the other and after almost every match, reports have come of somebody either aggravating an old injury or suffering a new one.
To keep such a fragile team in the right physical shape through the course of such a long tournament is not easy and the support staff is working overtime to ensure nobody breaks down. From physical drills and recovery programmes to diet and evening life, everything is being monitored.
The team that looks after these aspects includes mental and physical conditioning coach Paddy Upton, physio Nitin Patel, physical trainer Ramji Srinivasan, masseurs Ramesh Mane and Amit Shah and yoga expert Manoj Kumar.
This six-member unit is larger than that with most other teams including Australia, who are travelling with a physio, physical trainer, massage therapist and strength trainer. So in terms of numbers, the richest team in the world is better placed in this department than the world’s No. 1 ODI team.
The build-up drills Indians undergo look well planned. There is equal emphasis on non-cricketing physical activities and regular nets.
Keeping in mind the rising mercury, a provision has been made in the dressing rooms for ice baths after practice. The players are going for massage in batches and those spending a long time in the field are getting extra rub-downs.
"Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra and Munaf Patel all have fitness issues," said a source in the team management.
"They have been given certain practice routines prepared by the physio and every step is being taken to ensure they are in the right shape to last the tournament. We are taking extra care of them."
According to the source, special attention is being paid to diet. “There is no red meat and no visible fat in what they are eating. Also, there are no soft drinks, ice creams and sweets. As far as eating out is concerned, it is allowed from time to time but not on a regular basis,” he said.
There is no bar on the players having a drink or two, but they are not allowed to go beyond a limit.
The team management is also keeping an eye on when the players retire to their rooms, especially on days before every game. The source in the team management said they are more or less satisfied with what they have achieved on this front so far.
Staying within the hotel confines for long periods can be boring and the team management is allowing the players out at times while keeping an eye on when they return.
Is all this producing the right results? Well, India is one team that is yet to have a player ruled out because of fitness issues.