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WTC Final: Sometimes being under-prepared works in our favour, says India fielding coach R Sridhar

India fielding coach R Sridhar and bowling coach Bharat Arun are banking on players’ experience as Covid-19 quarantine restrictions might hamper their preparations for World Test Championship final against New Zealand, starting June 18 in Southampton.

The BCCI announced a 20-man squad for the World Test Championship final and the subsequent 5-Test series in England in August-September. While India will have plenty of time to prepare for the Test series against England, it’s likely that they will have only a few days of time for outdoor training in the lead up to the much-anticipated WTC Final.

India players are likely to assemble in a city for a week’s period of hard quarantine during which they will undergo mandatory Covid-19 tests. India are likely to depart for the UK in the first week of June. It remains unclear whether India will be allowed to train during their quarantine period upon arrival in the UK, given the restrictions due to second Covid-19 wave in India.

“I don’t think we have a choice.We would like to make the most of what we get because it all depends on how many days of hard or soft quarantine we are going to have, when we are going to land and if at all getting a practice game so I don’t think we have a choice,” Sridhar told the Press Trust of India.

Sridhar concedes that India might be a little under-prepared when compared to New Zealand who will have the luxury of playing 2 Tests against England in June before the WTC Final. However, the fielding coach explains how being under-prepared can sometimes help the team’s cause.

“It’s time to be mentally smart, we have a very experienced team going into going to the final. Each guy is capable of adapting to the situation. They have played against New Zealand and played in England. So, I think that experience will count and we will have to come to the fore, because we really can’t plan as to how many sessions we want because we only have to take what is given to us,” Sridhar said.

“…sometimes it can work in our favour as well, because that way you’re mentally more ready. It’s like playing with an injury sometimes when you’re injured, you tend to concentrate a little better.

“Sometimes when you’re a little under-prepared, you tend to focus more and maybe that will bring the best out of us as well, so that that is the kind of mindset we are going in with,” said Sridhar.

Specific plans for New Zealand players? Bharat Arun opens up

With most of the country in lockdown due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, bowling coach Arun said the players have been assigned specific tasks while they are at home.

“They have been given specific roles as to what they need to do. But yes, you are restricted because they cannot go out, once we regroup, then we’ll have to see how best we can plan,” said the bowling coach.

India planned meticulously for the Australia tour earlier this year on which they recorded one of their best ever Test triumphs. They laid out the now-famous “leg-side” trap for top stars like Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne.

For the WTC final and five Tests against England, Arun said they will plan based on what they see in two Tests before the WTC final.

“England is playing New Zealand before us. So that will give us a good insight into how the New Zealanders are playing in English conditions, and also how the English men are playing right now.

“The present form is extremely important for us to plan and the quarantine period in England would give us enough time to take into consideration all the factors and make plans accordingly,” he said.

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