Kolkata: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has roped in the services of South African sports psychologist Sandy Gordon to boost the morale of the Indian team ahead of its World Cup lung opener against Holland on February 12. Announcing this, BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya told reporters on Sunday that Gordon would have two sessions with the Indian players in South Africa. BCCI sources said that February 9 and 10 have been fixed as tentative dates for the team's interaction with Gordon.
Dalmiya, who had a two-and-half hour meeting with the team management during which various administrative matters, logistics and preparations of the team were discussed, said the Indians would undergo extensive practice routines in two sessions daily in South Africa for 12 days from January 30. The team, which would fly out from India on January 29, would play two practice matches against 'strong' local sides in Durban on February 4 and 6. Skipper Saurav Ganguly, coach John Wright, physiotherapist Andrew Leipus and physical trainer Adrian Le Roux were present at the meeting. Dalmiya said vice-captain Rahul Dravid, who was also scheduled to be present, could not make it as he missed his flight.
''However, we talked to him over phone and sought his views,'' Dalmiya said, adding that the meeting centred solely around cricketing matters, and also took stock of the dismal performance of the team in New Zealand. ''Basically, we deliberated on the lessons learnt from the Kiwi trip and the conditional similarities that can be expected in South Africa,'' the BCCI Chief said. He, however, reiterated that the team's showing in New Zealand could not be taken as a yardstick as ''even the hosts struggled to notch up 100 runs on the fast and bouncy tracks''.
Dalmiya said the Board has asked for the services of 24 South African bowlers to help the team at the nets. Dalmiya said that BCCI's media manager Amrit Mathur would accompany the team for the benefit of members of the fourth estate. He said the Indian players, apart from utilising the intervening period between the New Zealand tour and the South Africa campaign for rest and relaxation, had also undergone work outs as per a schedule prepared by Le Roux.