“Let me take you back a little bit. When I was coach of India, Sachin called me one morning and wanted to come and see me.
When he came into my room the first question he asked was “Why does batting get more difficult over time?” I remember telling him that over time you learn a lot and process all the information in your subconscious mind. As a talented youngster cutting your teeth in international cricket, all you do is see and hit the ball. You are not concerned about reputation, about pressure or about expectations. However, with time things change. With experience, you know what to expect, what the opposition bowlers are expected to bowl to you and how much the country wants you to succeed,” Chappell while speaking on RevSportz as part of the World Cup edition of the Backstage With Boria said.
“All this information is there in your mind and can cause problems. The opponents too know much more about you over time and are better prepared. If you want to bat freely, you need to de-clutter your mind of all this information. You need to be mentally prepared and do so with a free mind. That’s the key. If you are able to free yourself up mentally, you can bat the way you did early on in your career and control the game. That’s what Virat was able to do in the last World T20 in Australia against Pakistan. If you go and see that innings again the one thing that will stand out is the kind of shots he played. He did not back away and try to slog, he did not charge the bowler and most of his shots were conventional cricket shots played according to the merit of the ball. In my book it was the perfect batting masterclass by the master himself,” he said.
“I am sure Virat will want to be in a similar mental space in this world cup. If he can approach the tournament in a free mind and prepare well, which he always does, he will score a lot of runs for India and will be a key influence in the competition,” added Greg Chappell.
Jasprit Bumrah staged a remarkable return during the first T20I encounter against Ireland, securing the coveted ‘Player of the Match’ title and guiding the Indian squad to victory. Nonetheless, the anticipation lingers regarding whether he will unleash his full prowess in the upcoming World Cup or exercise caution.
Speaking on Bumrah’s comeback he said, “It is very much similar to that of Virat. He needs to de-clutter his mind and take it gradually. From what I have seen of him he seems to have a very good mind. He will have to break things down for himself. Take it one ball at a time. Not think too much about what can happen next. If he goes for a boundary, it is important to know that particular ball is over and done with. He needs to move away from it and focus on the next ball. Comebacks are not easy. Thoughts of the injury stay on in your mind and that could impact performance. And that’s why you need to free your mind. If he is able to do so and mentally get back to being the bowler that he was, he will do extremely well for India.”
When asked if he sees Asian teams dominate like it has happened in 2011 the last time the World Cup was played in India, Chappell said, “Home advantage makes a huge difference and I am very sure India will start favourites on home soil. When I was coach of India one thing I observed was that the Indians are very comfortable in dealing with any challenges thrown at them by any opposition at home. It was evident to me sitting inside the Indian change room and looking out. It has not changed and this Indian team under Rohit and Rahul is a very good one. I think they have a good chance in home conditions. Having said that, winning these tournaments is never easy. So I would urge caution if you are an Indian fan. Be cautiously optimistic. While India will have a very good chance, if things don’t go your way you should not be heartbroken for it can happen in sport. Some of the other teams like Australia and England are very good teams and with the IPL, the aura of the conditions have been somewhat demystified over time.”
Finally, when asked how tough it could be for Rohit and Rahul Dravid in home conditions with the expectations being sky high, Chappell said, “There is no doubt there will be huge pressure on them. Having said that, the simple thing to do would be not to check social media on your phones during the world cup. More so during the key matches. Players like Rohit have been around for long enough to know this. Rahul is a very experienced man and will know how to insulate himself and his team from all this outside noise. The noise does not necessarily reflect what the team tends to think and it is not important for the team to take cognizance of it. They need to be in their bubble and know what their plans are. Social media can’t influence the team and I am sure the Indians know it. While it is easier said than done, as elite high-performance sportsmen, it is expected that they will know what to do.”
Chappell also said that he expects Shubman Gill to score a lot of runs in the World Cup. “I think he will be fine and will score a lot of runs. What I had seen as a weakness in him was far more relevant for red ball cricket and in conditions where the ball moves around. Like it was the case during the WTC final at the Oval. In India he should be fine” Chappell concluded.
India will start their ICC World Cup 2023 campaign against five-time champion Australia on October 8 in Chennai.
(With ANI Inputs)