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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

Team lacks fitness, discipline: Gary Kirsten

What should have been a routine post-tournament debriefing turned serious on Wednesday evening, when India coach Gary Kirsten laid out some home truths for the team members. Anand Vasu reports. IPL parties: the inside story|After game, players lose cool

cricket Updated: May 14, 2010 01:54 IST
Anand Vasu
Anand Vasu
Hindustan Times

What should have been a routine post-tournament debriefing turned serious on Wednesday evening, when India coach Gary Kirsten laid out some home truths for the team members. The crux of Kirsten's message was fitness and discipline.

With the tournament over for India, Kirsten said, the players were getting some time off, which they should use 'to introspect', according to one of those who heard him.

Kirsten spoke to seven players, including Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Ashish Nehra and Zaheer Khan individually, then addressed the remaining members of the squad, before finishing off with a talk addressed to the whole team.

India, after a poor performance, crashed out of the tournament on Tuesday.

In his talks, Kirsten is believed to have demanded players take fitness more seriously, and pointed to himself as an example of one who was particular about what he ate and when he ate.

The coach, who is well-liked within the team, had, however, earned the ire of players by suggesting they all get back to their rooms by 9.30 pm during the tour, especially when India had a morning match to play the next day. Players felt his curfew hour was too early.

Whether there were any infractions of this curfew will come to light when Ranjib Biswal, the manager, files his report after returning to India.

The players were clearly told what was required of them as elite athletes in a document titled "Ideas for healthy eating" put together by their physical and mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton, more than a year ago.

The manual points out that players are different from the average man on the street: there are higher demands on their bodies. They must make clever decisions about what they eat. Players have been asked to eat fruit half an hour before meals as far as possible, and look to avoid certain foodstuffs that cause acidity - sugar, refined cereals, white flour, white rice, coffee/ tea, alcohol, nicotine, pastries, biscuits, fast foods, fizzy drinks.

It has also been suggested that the players "avoid eating after 8pm where possible", and drink plenty of water (at least one glass a day per 10 kg of body weight). The players have also been given a detailed list of foods that are recommended for them, and those that are not.

The guidelines state that food in the body is like fuel in a car. With the right quality and quantity of fuel, the car runs well. However, if poor quality fuel is used, the system gets clogged, parts break down and the car require the services of a good mechanic.

The document warns that there are some parts of the body that cannot be fixed by doctors and neglecting these could ensure an early breakdown. The coach's dissatisfaction with the players' attitude to fitness and discipline comes on the back of Mahendra Singh Dhoni's comment that it was up to each individual in the team to take a close look at how he took care of his body.

While the early exit from the tournament has triggered a storm back home, the Board of Control for Cricket in India is backing its players, and denied issuing any show cause notice to them.

First Published: May 13, 2010 18:18 IST

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