India captain Rohit Sharma has said that he genuinely feels newly-appointed mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton can make a difference to the team. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has brought in the South African once again, after the 2011 World Cup triumph, on the recommendation of head coach Rahul Dravid to help prepare the team for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
“I think it was a great move to bring him in. We are very excited to have him in the squad. I genuinely feel that he can make a difference in this team,” Rohit said on the eve of the five-match T20I series against West Indies.
The skipper added that Upton’s experience of having worked with a variety of teams on the mental aspect of the game, and his familiarity with several current India players, would surely benefit the side.
“He has got so much experience working with different teams at different places. His inclusion in the squad will definitely help all of us,” Rohit said ahead of the series opener in Trinidad. “He will definitely bring the mental side of the game, which is very, very important, into the picture.
“He has worked with the Indian team before, he was part of the 2011 World Cup-winning Indian team, and he has also had success with a lot of franchise teams. He knows a lot of our players as well, he has worked with them closely before.
“It is only his second or third day with the team now so he is probably just observing the guys he hasn’t worked with earlier and I am sure he will start his work and get the players’ thoughts as well.”
During his first stint with the Indian team, between 2008 and 2011, Upton had worked in the dual role of mental conditioning coach and strategic leadership coach, developing a fine rapport with a lot of players, including Dravid. Later, the two also worked together as coaches in the Indian Premier League.
“The mental side of the game has always been important, that hasn’t changed. I think what might have changed is the fact that we have come through and out of the Covid experience. A lot of the players have been on the road a lot of the time and so there is an extra element to manage to try and get individual players and the team as a whole into the best possible space,” Upton told bcci.tv after joining the team in the Caribbean.