India's coach Gary Kirsten talks with his captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni during team training the day before their first Test cricket match against New Zealand in Hamilton.
Stress managers are working overtime to ease the pressure on Indian cricketers during the World Cup campaign.
The first innovation is a list of dos and don’ts. While the don’ts are quite predictable, the dos may show how coach Gary Kirsten and his deputy, Paddy Upton, are trying to keep their team battle-ready.
MS Dhoni’s men have been told that working out at the gym is the best stress-buster, besides practice, practice and more practice.
And to make training enjoyable, Kirsten has introduced several non-cricketing activities. Going by the laughter football and volleyball — and not cricket — are generating, the players seem to be having fun.
What’s more, there are points for the best-dressed person in public. And irrespective of how they perform, the team is choosing a player-of-the-week on how they conform to the team norms.
There is more on the fun front. The men have been advised to watch comedy movies and TV programmes as much as they can, but not read newspaper reports and watch TV experts’ views on their performance. For any such feedback, they have to focus on team meetings. Another no-no is socialising and making appearances at public functions.
The norms are tough. Following them are supposed be tougher. So, for winning the player-of-the-week title, one is excused for many things. The list speaks for itself: Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel and S Sreesanth.