Quarantine restrictions in the UK will certainly impact India’s preparation for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand but fielding coach R Sridhar has said that being under-prepared could aid players to focus better in a similar manner to when playing with an injury.
India are expected to leave for England in early June following a period of isolation in Mumbai and the WTC final is scheduled to start on June 18 in Southampton.
It is not clear as yet whether the team will be able to train outdoors ahead of the match and while Sridhar acknowledged that such a build-up was hardly ideal, he said that India would have to be ‘mentally smart’ and rely upon their past experience.
“We would like to make the most of what we get because it all depends on how many days of hard or soft quarantine we are going to have, when we are going to land and if at all (we are) getting a practice game so I don’t think we have a choice,” Sridhar told the Press Trust of India.
“It’s time to be mentally smart, we have a very experienced team going into the final. Each guy is capable of adapting to the situation. They have played against New Zealand and played in England.
“So, I think that experience will count and will have to come to the fore, because we really can’t plan as to how many sessions we want, we only have to take what is given to us.
“Sometimes it can work in our favour as well, because that way you’re mentally more ready. It’s like playing with an injury. Sometimes when you’re injured, you tend to concentrate a little better. Sometimes when you’re a little under-prepared, you tend to focus more and maybe that will bring the best out of us as well, so that is the kind of mindset we are going in with.”
India’s WTC final opponents New Zealand will be better acclimatised to English conditions since they have two Tests lined up against Joe Root’s side before the final.
While that is a definite advantage for the Kiwis, bowling coach Bharat Arun hopes that India’s squad can make the most of their time away from the action by assessing the opposition, especially considering that a Test series against England also awaits Virat Kohli’s men after the WTC final.
“See, it is definitely an advantage for them... getting used to English conditions and things like that,” Arun said. “But then we’ll have to recall (our past experience) in England... bring about the experience of the players and the support staff to make our plans, the scheduling is such that this is what it is. You have to work around that.
“England is playing New Zealand before us. So that will give us a good insight into how the New Zealanders are playing in English conditions, and also how the Englishmen are playing right now. The present form is extremely important for us to plan and the quarantine period in England would give us enough time to take into consideration all the factors and make plans accordingly.”
After the WTC final, India will take on England in a five-Test series starting in August.
Featured photo: AFP / Sajjad Hussain