Team India seek service of sports psychologist

Published: Saturday, May 27, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Port of Spain:Indian cricket team has sought the services of legendary sports psychologist Rudy Webster to assist them in becoming stronger in the mental aspect of the game.

Webster was instrumental in helping Team India coach Greg Chappell out of a miserable form in the 1979-80. At that time, Chappell was even thinking of quitting game but Webster convinced him that he should toughen up mentally and he could be among the top to batsmen of that time.

It is Chappell who recommended that Indian team had sessions with Webster.

''He is a very experienced person who understands cricket and sports psychology like no one. He will be of great help to the players,'' said Chappell.

Webster is from Grenada and would be with the Indian team for a period of seven days that started this Thursday.

As the Indian team practised at the nets prior to the fourth One-day, Webster was seen having talks with the players. He had particularly long talk with opener Virender Sehwag.

Later, Webster said he is very impressed with the Indian team.

''Nothing serious happened in the first session but I got to know the players. I have never met them before. They look a strong unit to me as I see. They remind me of the West Indies team of early 70s. They have lot of talent but they need proper guidance,'' Webster said.

Indian captain Rahul Dravid said that team would get to learn a lot from the sports psychologist.

''Rudy has joined only Thursday. We don't expect him to put a magic spell. But the idea is that the younger players should be exposed to different types of people and thoughts. Rudy knows the mental side of the game and should come handy to the team,'' he said.

Webster is a master of sports psychology and his book '''Winning Ways'' is critically acclaimed as perhaps the best book on sports psychology.

Webster, along with Clive Lloyd, was among the major architects who shaped the invincible West Indies team of the seventies and eighties. Clive Lloyd said that comparisons couldn't be drawn between both the sides but the present Indian team, like the West Indies squad of that era, also stood to gain.

''Rudy knows his job. I am sure he would be fair game. Indian team would benefit a lot from him and turn out to be better fighting unit,'' said Lloyd.

Webster, meanwhile, felt that the current West Indies team could do a lot better. He also said Brian Lara is a player under most pressure in world cricket.

''Brian Lara is a good leader but has had hard time. No player has more pressure. The pressure on Sachin (Tendulkar) and Lara are different. In India, people adore Sachin and there is no conflict.

There is lots of expectation. In Lara's case, half of the West Indies love him while the other half hate him. This is more difficult,'' said Webster.

He also said that modern day cricket has become too complicated.

''There is too much emphasis on technique and other such things.

The game has become more academic. At the end of the day it's a game of bat and ball. Cricketers need to go back to the basics,'' added Webster.

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