Former Indian cricketer Sandeep Patil has weighed on the power of mental strength for cricketers during these uncertain times. As cricket continues to be on the sidelines for more than three months, the athletes would indeed feel scratchy and rusty when it resumes. While England and West Indies would return to the field next month by playing Test matches, the Indian team don’t have any games lined up.
The last instance of international cricket took place in March when Sydney Cricket Ground hosted a One-day international between Australia and New Zealand without spectators. While the cricketing brains plan the road back, there exists the issue of players’ readiness. BCCI, in specific, has requested a camp lasting four-six weeks and a short tournament to prepare their national team for international cricket.
Sandeep Patil feels that the real challenge is for the players to bounce back without any real injuries to them. And the primary thing to have is a strong mindset. A player must begin steadily and making an injury-free comeback. The former chief selector further said that even as the coach of Kenya, he always used to urge the players on retaining their mental strength.
“These are pretty uncertain times and the challenge to bounce back without any injuries will be a real task for any player. But they need to remember that all these challenges will first have to be dealt strongly in the mind.
You need to begin slowly and ensure that you tune your focus firmly on making an injury-free comeback. Even during my tenure as coach of Kenya, I used to always focus on players being mentally strong before any tournament.” the former Mumbai batsman stated as quoted by Hindustan Times.
Sandeep Patil cites the example of 1983 World Cup final and the significance of building a positive mindset:
The 63-year old, who played 29 Tests between 1980 and 1984, was also part of India’s eleven when they stunned West Indies in the 1983 World Cup final. Patil conceded that after the Carribeans bundled them for 183, having a resolute mind was the only thing that saved them.
Sandeep Patil admits that to dismiss batsmen like Gordon Greenidge, Clive Lloyd, and Viv Richards was no easy task. Hence, during tough times, not only cricketers, but also sportspersons need to be mentally mature and level-headed.
“During 1983 World Cup final, after we were restricted to 183, we thought we were down and out. But before stepping onto the field for second innings, we all made a very fervent resolution in our minds and as a team. The rest they say is history!”
Bowling to likes of Greenidge, Viv Richards was no easy task but because we were focussed on laying our hands on that trophy, we were able to do it. So, being mentally mature is very important for any sportsperson, not just cricketers.” Sandeep Patil added.