'Plenty of pride in the Indian ranks'

Cricket: Consistency key to our rise, says coach Kirsten

'Plenty of pride in the Indian ranks'


GAZING INTO THE FUTURE: Indian coach Gary Kirsten wears a pensive look during an  interaction with the media at the preparatory camp in Bangalore on Thursday. DH Photo

India’s climb up the charts, coach Gary Kirsten said, was because of the team’s consistency over the last year.

“We have been there up for the last eight or nine months. We have consistently performed well and the one-day team has an 80 percent win ratio,” said Kirsten on the opening day’ of the four-day preparatory camp for Team India at the National Cricket Academy on Thursday.

“We take a lot of pride in our consistency and our performance over a period of time, so we would like to continue that. We feel we have got a quality side and at the end of it, it’s all about motivating well to play for Team India. Everybody is feeling fresh mentally after the break. It’s been fantastic. Everyone is looking pretty good and looking forward to play,” he added.

It’s not just in the one-dayers that India have been doing well. Test series wins over Australia at home and away over New Zealand are indicative of their success in the longer version too. The former South African opener felt team spirit has played a huge role in India emerging one of the top teams in the world.

“One of the things we pride ourselves on, over the success we had since Australia last year, was the fact that we were playing as a team, and that we were playing for a big cause. Everybody played for Team India, we took a lot of pride in being able to do that.

“We had a setback in the T20 World Cup, but that can happen to any world-class team. We are looking forward to what we can achieve. The team spirit and unity in this environment has been as good as ever. Everyone is enjoying being together again,” he elaborated.

India begin a long campaign with the Lankan tri-series immediately followed by the Champions Trophy in South Africa. The challenge to acclimatise to different conditions wasn’t lost on the Protean. “We have to prepare accordingly. The time we get in South Africa – to prepare – is going to be very important.

“It gives us sufficient time there as well. The conditions here aren’t far off from that of Sri Lanka. What we are doing here will help us there. And we work with the team that has been selected. We have a squad of 20 to 25 players in India that can on any given day make a massive contribution. The guys who have been selected are looking forward to the opportunity given to them,” he remarked.

Asked if he has pondered over some batsmen’s inability to handle the short ball, especially in the World T20, Kirsten didn’t appear too perturbed. “We are playing the 50-over version of the game, which is very different from T20. But what we do in this team in terms of our game plans, training and structures, we try and cover every base that we need to cover to make sure we give ourselves the best chance of success. That (short ball) might be one of them, but there might be a whole lot of other things,” he pointed out.

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