Chappell keen on a short camp before Lanka series

Published: Sunday, September 25, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:Indian cricket coach Greg Chappell, in the eye of a controversy over his remarks on captain Sourav Ganguly, is hoping to squeeze in a short camp ahead of the One-day series at home against Sri Lanka next month.

"I have just arrived. But yes, I would like to do something (before the series begins on Oct 25). If we can get together for 2-3 days before the first game begins, it will be good," Chappell said on his return this morning from Zimbabwe.

"We need to be together for a few days. The short answer (to the possibility of having a camp) is yes. But I don't know what the timing should be and other details," he said.

Chappell has already set his eyes on the packed international commitments for India, including the away Test series in Pakistan and the home engagements against England between January and April of 2006.

"We have a pretty good record at home but we need to work pretty hard. England, for example, are a different side from what they were in recent times. They are also a very good bowling side."

"History tells you that the best fast bowlers generally win you a Test series. They (England) will come here with a good bowling attack. So we need to play well," the former Australian captain said.

The coach also said he would work with the Indian players so that they could counter the English bowling attack.

"Obviously between now and then (till they arrive) we will give due consideration to their fast bowling attack and the sort of situations that's likely to develop and hopefully we can counter those with the players we have," Chappell said.

Looking ahead, the Australian great said India were lucky to have a fine mix of the young and the old which was a perfect composition for the One-dayers, the focus being the World Cup in 2007.

"I think this is the best combination you can have. We got some very experienced players, especially in batting and spin bowling. Hopefully, Sachin will be back shortly to add to the experience."

"You need a dynamic group of players. You need young guys pushing the older guys along. As far as One-day cricket is concerned, we are looking forward to 2007 World Cup. We need a good mix of old and new, young and experienced players.

"Hopefully, young guys keep pushing through which is a healthy sign," he said.

Talking about the fitness levels needed from a player to fulfil his vision for Indian cricket, Chappell said the fitness required from a 30-year-old in international cricket was the same as needed to be exhibited by a 20-year-old player.

"The levels of fitness in international cricket is the same for someone who's 20 years of age and a 30-year-old player. Slightly different programmes are given to different players taking into consideration a whole range of issues, not least of all age," he said.

But at the same time, Chappell said the minimum standards of fitness needed to be maintained by all as he had seen players who neglected their fitness in their 20s struggling when they reached the 30s.

"Basically a minimum standard is required (as far as fitness levels are concerned) of all players. If a player is performing well and is a little less fit and a little bit overweight, he could be given some latitude. But at some stage or other it's going to catch up with him from my point of view.

"In my experience at this level, not only as a player but also as a selector and coach, I have seen a lot of players who had neglected their fitness through their mid-20s. And by the time they get into their 30s, they struggle.

"I don't want to see this happening with some really good players that we have," Chappell retorted in an indirect way to suggestions that he was overtaxing the players.

"I think a few players still need to get themselves fitter and be better prepared for the role they have in the team and that includes some of the bowlers. We will keep putting the demands on them to get those levels (of fitness) up and if we can succeed I think we would be OK".

Elaborating further, he said India had players with some special skills and it was a question of how to blend those to perfection.

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