"Probably the biggest disadvantage is going to be the pressure and expectation on the Indian team" - Paddy Upton, former Indian strength and conditioning coach

The Indian team will start as favorites to win the T20 World Cup 2021
The Indian team will start as favorites to win the T20 World Cup 2021
Naman Jain

Former Indian strength and conditioning coach Paddy Upton believes Team India will be under immense pressure heading into the upcoming T20 World Cup as they are expected to win the ICC mega-event.

The South African-born specialized coach was part of the MS Dhoni-led Indian team, which won the 2011 ODI World Cup title. Upton feels Virat Kohli is the favorite to lift his maiden senior ICC trophy in the UAE.

#ICCT20WorldCup2021: We are often too quick to make the best player the leader, says Paddy Upton INTERVIEW: 🏏#PaddyUpton #T20WorldCup #ViratKohli

While speaking with the Times of India, Upton opined that most teams will head into their matches with an underdog mindset, which will allow them to play more freely. He feels this fearless mindset of the opposition will create more pressure on the Indian team. Upton said:

"Every team that plays against you comes in with an underdog mindset and going into a big high-pressure event with an underdog mindset sets up the kind of mindset that very often translates to winning. You don't expect to win, you can play with freedom, you try and just keep transferring the pressure onto the opposition team who walk onto the field already with a lot of pressure. So, probably the biggest disadvantage, like in the 2011 ICC World Cup, is going to be the pressure and expectation on the Indian team."

The South African also feels the Indian team is arguably the best T20 cricket team in the world. Upton believes the side is poised to do well in the UAE and are significant favorites to lift the coveted trophy.

"India are arguably the best T20 cricket team in the world. The Indian team is excellently poised to do well because they’ve such a good team. So India will go into that T20 World Cup as a significant favorite. I have no doubt about that. Probably one of the biggest challenges is that it is very difficult to go into a big event being the favorite because you have all the pressure and the expectation on you," said Upton.

India lifted the inaugural World T20 edition in 2007, held in South Africa under MS Dhoni's leadership. The side's best T20 WC campaign post that victory came in 2014 when they reached the final, only to lose to Sri Lanka in Dhaka.

"They are almost two ends of the spectrum" - Paddy Upton on Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni

Right after lifting his fourth IPL trophy, MS Dhoni joined the Indian camp in preparation for the upcoming ICC Men's T20 World Cup. The veteran was appointed as the team's mentor and will assist Virat Kohli and co in the tournament.

Paddy Upton, who played a huge role alongside Gary Kirsten in India's 2011 World Cup triumph, also spoke about the captaincy styles of Dhoni and Kohli.

Extending a very warm welcome to the KING πŸ‘‘@msdhoni is back with #TeamIndia and in a new role!πŸ’ͺ

According to him, the duo are on two ends of the emotional spectrum.

"They're very different as captains in terms of the outward presence or their persona. Dhoni is super calm and Virat is obviously very emotionally charged. They are almost two ends of the spectrum. I think together they work quite nicely on the field. When Virat became captain, Dhoni was able to bring a certain calmness to the team around Virat, and was able to help Virat with just some thinking around bowling changes and fielding changes," Upton concluded.

After taking the field for warm-up games against England and Australia, the Men in Blue will kick off their World Cup campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on October 24.

Edited by Anantaajith Ra
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