"Don’t think he can do wonders" - Sreesanth reacts to Paddy Upton's appointment as India's mental conditioning coach
Former cricketer S Sreesanth believes Paddy Upton's appointment won't do any wonders for the Indian team in the lead-up to the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.
Upton was roped in as the mental conditioning coach ahead of the third ODI against West Indies on head coach Rahul Dravid's recommendation. The South African was part of India's 2011 World Cup win under then-coach Gary Kirsten in a similar capacity.
While it is seen as a welcome move, Sreesanth feels Upton's appointment won't make much of a difference. The Kerala-born cricketer worked with Upton during his time with the national team and at the Rajasthan Royals.
Speaking to Mid-Day, the former cricketer stated:
“I don’t think he [Upton] can do wonders. If we win the T20 World Cup, it will be because of the players and the experience of Rahul bhai [Dravid]. We have a great unit, but I don’t think that the man who you are talking about [Upton] is going to make much difference."
“Even when you play domestic cricket, you have to be mentally fit. So, the conditioning is happening [already]."
Incidentally, Upton, in his autobiography, had alleged that Sreesanth abused him and Dravid after the pacer was left out of the playing XI against Mumbai Indians in IPL 2013. That edition of the cash-rich league was rocked by a match-fixing saga, which led to many life bans on cricketers, including Sreesanth.
"Hardly one percent" - Sreesanth on Paddy Upton's impact during his last stint
Sreesanth further added that Upton had barely one percent impact on the side that won the ICC ODI World Cup in 2011 under MS Dhoni and head coach Kirsten.
Claiming that Upton is back in the role because of Dravid, the right-arm pacer said:
"Hardly one per cent (on his impact in the 2011 World Cup win). Gary did 99 percent of the work. He [Upton] was just an assistant to him. He is back because he has worked with Rahul bhai earlier [at RR]. Rahul bhai will surely use him well because he is a good yoga teacher."
Upton will support the players and support staff as they prepare for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup in Australia. India will chase the elusive second title after bowing out of the group stages last year in the UAE.