Boot camp was beneficial: Arun

Boot camp was beneficial: Arun

The under-19 World Cup-bound Indian squad returned from a three-day boot camp at Nagarhole wildlife sanctuary and coach Bharat Arun felt the trip was a fruitful one.

“We have been together for one year now and we wanted to start afresh,” said the former India paceman here on Thursday.

The squad was put through some rigorous yet fun-filled exercises aimed at building trust between individuals and increasing their sociability. “We had team exercises and all these were devised in such a way that you could relate them to the game. We did rappelling which is basically getting down a cliff (with rope tied around) and the process is simple provided you stay calm. It is similar to what happens in close matches, a cool mind wins in pressure situations. We also did a game called a trust-walk in which we split the players into three groups and except the group leader, the rest were blind-folded.

“They had to walk through some rough terrain in the reserve forest and at the same time none was allowed to talk. Initially we allowed them to hold hands and walk and then we stopped that too but the players found their own code-language and indulged in claps to guide each other, like say two claps to turn right. The camp was good and it got the team closer and it also helped a few players who were withdrawn or aloof to open up a lot more.”

Arun was also confident of India’s chances in the biennial event. “We have played all teams except South Africa over the last year and we have beaten all teams and that gives us the confidence to do well in the World Cup,” he pointed out. “Self-belief is often drawn largely from what you have done in the past. We won the Quadrangular in Australia, the one in India and in the Asia Cup final we finished joint winners (against Pakistan).”

The nucleus of the Indian team has remained the same for about a year now and the coach was happy with the balance in the side. “Ours is a well-balanced squad and it would be unfair to name a few key players. Yes (skipper) Unmukt (Chand) has done well but everyone has chipped in too.

There have been contributions like 25 runs in 10 balls but that often escapes attention. As for the short-ball in Australia, we are well prepared and besides, most members of the team played in the Quadrangular in Australia.” The camp will go on till August 2.

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