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Yuvraj implores India to get mental conditioning coach

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Yuvraj Singh has questioned whether India coach Ravi Shastri has what it takes to help players with the psychological challenges of the game, and said there is a need for a mental conditioning coach in the side.

When Yuvraj was at his peak, India were under the supervision of coach Paddy Upton, who was both a strategic leader and a mental conditioning expert. With the current India side having its fair share of youngsters, Yuvraj wondered whether Shastri and batting coach Vikram Rathour, while competent from a technical point of view, offer much in terms of mental conditioning.

“Players have done quite well under Ravi Shastri. They won in Australia, they have done quite well,” Yuvraj said on Sportscreen’s YouTube page. “But my point is – as a coach I don’t know how Ravi is – I know that you cannot have a particular way with every player, you have to have a different way with every player. I don’t see that with the coaching staff.

“You have guys like Vikram Rathour, he has been my senior, he has been a mentor at times, when I was playing state, but with all due respect, if someone has not played cricket at that level for a long time, the younger generation, which is more prone to T20 and 50-over, what are you going to tell them?

“Vikram Rathour might tell them about technique or how to hit the ball, but there’s no one to work on the mental side. The captain can only do so much. The coach can only do so much. That’s why I’m saying that you need a psychologist who actually talks to players after a particular session.”

Yuvraj pointed to youngsters such as Rishabh Pant and Prithvi Shaw, who have had see-saw careers already, despite being 22 and 20 respectively, as players who could use help from an expert. “I feel the current players don’t have anyone to speak about the mental side of the game to,” Yuvraj said.

“We have guys like Rishabh Pant, guys like Prithvi Shaw, they are so talented, and obviously, unfortunately, there’s intense scrutiny these days because of the number of media outlets – one game you fail, you feel like you’ve failed the series.

“So, there’s nobody to talk to them about the mental side – what’s going on? How can we get better? Or probably don’t do this or do that. Share your experiences. I’ve been saying for a while, the team needs a good psychologist. But it should be someone the players respect. That’s important because there are a lot of young players, and younger players, as when we are growing up, we feel we know more than our parents and coaches.”

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