It would help them concentrate on their jobs better
DHAKA: Ricky Ponting never forgets to acknowledge the contribution of the support staff at the presentation ceremony. As the leader of a team which has given a new dimension to dominance on the field, he understands that the support staff form an important part of Australia's phenomenal success.
A seven-member group, including the chief coach, prepares the Australians for the tough mental and physical contests. Supreme fitness is the reason behind the country's unmatched conquests for close to a decade now.
In modern cricket, the support staff has a critical role to play and the Indian team has come to accept that there is a place for a bowling coach, a fielding coach and also a batting coach, not to forget the physiotherapist, trainer and a masseur, all striving to keep the players in shape in the most testing conditions.
That Robin Singh and Venkatesh Prasad worked behind the scenes to bring about a refreshing change in the way the team prepared for the just-concluded series in Bangladesh is something that the team management, coach Ravi Shastri and the players will readily acknowledge.
Robin, a mentally tough player who displayed controlled aggression during many match-winning performances, settled into his role nicely, getting the players to understand their bodies well and making them react well to different situations, especially when anticipating catches.
Prasad, a wily seamer with an admirable quality to effect breakthroughs, worked tirelessly with the bowlers, motivating them and getting the best out of them with his brilliant analysis. Prasad's advantage is his immense international experience, and it showed in the performance level that Zaheer Khan attained.
Loss of confidence was the reason for Zaheer struggling to put the ball in the right areas but Prasad's words of wisdom made the left-armer realise his potential. On a placid pitch, which was two-paced only on the third afternoon, Zaheer came up with an enviable display of seam bowling.
Prasad had analysed the pitch astutely and to Zaheer's credit, the bowler returned his first five-wicket haul in three years. "Mainly injuries,'' was the reason Zaheer professed for his inconsistency, but there was no doubt that it was a mental thing. Once Zaheer realised that he had an efficient guide in Prasad, who had gone through similar problems during his playing days and managed to overcome them, he settled down to bowl a length that proved difficult to handle for the Bangladesh batsmen.
Prasad had devised a plan and Zaheer executed it perfectly. There was support from Rudra Pratap Singh, who got some of his swing and pace back. The constant monitoring by Prasad helped R.P. Singh become an improved bowler.
Quiet and effective
Robin played his part quietly and effectively. He worked on the fielding drills with a fresh approach, and more importantly, made the players enjoy them. It was a welcome break from the monotonous exercises the team had been following.
Shastri was all praise for Prasad and Robin. "They shared the responsibility and did an excellent job. Their experience helped the bowlers a lot and brought in a professional touch,'' he said.
For their outstanding work, Prasad and Robin deserve a proper contract from the Board. It would help them concentrate on their jobs better. Needless to say, they have the support of the captain and the coach.