Indian team’s irregular sessions may have surprised many but skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels that it is better to do three days of “high intensity” training rather than six days of “mediocre” workout to keep fresh in a marathon tournament like the cricket World Cup.
The Indian team practiced two out four days days (travelling day is used for training) in between their matches against South Africa and UAE. The same two-training-days out of the available five days is being used by Dhoni and Co for their match against West Indies at the WACA on Friday.
“What we’re doing is dividing the workload, trying to practice on alternative days. Three days of high-intensity practice is better than six days of mediocre practice,” Dhoni made it clear after the UAE match as to what exactly his views are on everyday net sessions.
In fact whatever the Indian skipper said made a lot of sense. The team has played at all the venues since the start of the Test series and there won’t be any major change in the character of wickets in a space of few weeks which would need them to do any special or extensive homework.
“If you extend the Australia series till World Cup, it’s a four-five month tour on the whole. If you talk of conditions, then we know everything about the conditions. We’ve played at almost all the venues so we know how the wickets behave,” Dhoni was categorical in his observation about the rest days that have been interspersed between some of the training sessions.
For Dhoni, it is important that the team remains “mentally fresh” for a seven week tournament.
“When you’re constantly playing cricket, then what matters more than net sessions is rest especially, when you’re playing a long series. Being mentally fresh is very important. We’re mixing it. Even an off day is only an off day on the field. We do gymnasium or pool sessions or try to play a bit of tennis all these things to keep ourselves fresh,” Dhoni explained.
During their 2011 triumph, Team India had beautifully phased their campaign and peaked at the right time and Dhoni, with some unavoidable ‘tweaks’, wants to follow the same pattern.
“The attempt will be to do the same thing (pacing their campaign) but not everything always goes according to plan. When new challenges crop up, you need to be ready for them. All our plans, our practice sessions, maintaining fitness — everything has so far gone well for us,” the skipper sounded satisfied.
The main focus for Dhoni right now is to further improve upon their already impressive performance and maintaining the momentum that they have gained.
“As we enter the knock-out stages, we’ll need to improve our performance and maintain it,” the skipper insisted.
The skipper as usual sounded dismissive about popular opinions on training sessions and strategies going into the knock-out phase.
“A lot of people have different opinions, but it’s better if we don’t pay heed to others’ opinions and do what we feel within the team is right.”