The 13th season of the Indian Premier League is set to be an unprecedented event as it will be taking place under a bio-secure environment and behind closed doors as part of precaution due to Covid-19.
And, Paddy Upton, the mental and health conditioning coach, has reckoned that big match players who thrive on the pressure generated by the game situation and the presence of vociferous fans, will struggle to get going in empty stadiums.
Upton also added that players, who generally fall away when faced with intense pressure in front of a full house, could well turn out to be the biggest performers of the season.
“The big-match temperament players do well when the pressure is on, when there are a lot of people around,” Upton said on ESPNcricinfo Newsroom.
“The fact that you are gonna have games in front of empty stadiums now, you are just not going to have that level of pressure. So the players who rely on big-match temperament to deliver results… Someone like Virat Kohli, will he still be as good when you take away that external stimulation and noise and pressure? You are gonna find players who normally fall over when the pressure gets high. They will be able to just carry on batting because there is not going to be the physical presence of spectators,”Paddy Upton said.
“Athletes who are internally driven, who find the motivation from within themselves, they are going to be fine, they are going to do well. Your typical confidence players, who look for motivation, inspiration or validation from outside, they are really going to struggle. Your optimists are going to do a hell lot better. Your pessimists are gonna struggle. So it depends how many introverts, internally driven, optimists you have got in your team. The more you have got, the luckier you actually are.” he added.
“There are a number of other players who are very much in the same boat as Suresh Raina”- Paddy Upton
Recently, Suresh Raina withdrew his name from the 13th edition of the IPL due to personal reasons. It later emerged that following the death of his family members, Raina found it difficult to stay aloof in the stringest bio-secure environment.
Paddy Upton warned there might be a lot of similar cases in the upcoming days and he hoped that franchises are prepared for that situation.
“There are a number of other players who are very much in the same boat as Suresh Raina and I just hope that the teams are aware of that and are catering for that. There are coaches who are gonna be struggling, there are support staff who are gonna be struggling in that three-month bio-bubble,” Paddy Upton added.
“Arriving there already depleted, having navigated, being locked indoors, we are gonna find players who haven’t been exercising, we will see some strangely overweight players, we will see players out of nick. I know some players have been lucky to be able to get into the nets, so they are gonna go ahead,” he said.