Indian cricket team coach Gary Kirsten declared that M.S. Dhoni’s men are fresh and keen in the lead-up to the tri-series in Sri Lanka from September 8 to 14. Kirsten spoke to the media at length after the first day of the preparatory camp at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) here on Thursday. Excerpts:
On the camp
It is important to get back on track. The players have had a break, a six-week break which perhaps is longest they have had for a while and it is time to up the intensity, work on our fitness and prepare well for the season ahead starting with the one day matches in Sri Lanka. Most of the players will also play the BCCI Corporate tournament before that.
On Rahul Dravid
It is good to have Rahul Dravid back in the team. He adds massive value to the team. He is a very experienced player. My expectation of Rahul is the same as what I expect from every other cricketer, it’s about giving a 100 per cent on the field and Rahul is the kind of cricketer who doesn’t need to be told that. The moment he wears the Team India badge, he gives a 100 per cent be it practice or in play.
On Team India
We take pride in our consistency over a long period. It is a quality team and the players are mentally fresh and look good physically too. We did have an assessment about two weeks back and they have only improved after that. We have had a good first day at the camp. We had a round of assessments done.
We have had a good run right from the tour of Australia and there is great team spirit though the World Twenty20 Cup was a set-back. We are very positive and all of us want to move on. Though it is a hectic season ahead, between the tri-series in Sri Lanka and our first match in the Champions Trophy in South Africa on September 26 there is a short break where we will continue to work on our game.
On simulating Sri Lankan conditions in the camp
The conditions here are not very far from the ones we will face in Sri Lanka and obviously we are looking at those set of matches (in Sri Lanka) first.
On newly-appointed trainer Ramji Srinivasan
Ramji is a nice man and he will add value to the team. We are happy to have him on board.
On young Indian batsmen’s fallacy against short-pitched bowling
It was just one game in which we had trouble (against short-pitched bowling) and you can’t judge based on that. Our bunch of young cricketers have had an extended period of success and consistency. Of course when we practice we cover all bases, we prepare the best we can so that we have a higher chance of success.
On having seniors like Sachin Tendulkar and Dravid
It is good to have Sachin and Rahul. They bring in experience.