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Stay task focused to control emotions: Former psychologist advises India

As title holders India gear up to take on formidable Australia in a mouth-watering World Cup semifinal clash the team's former psychologist Sandy Gordon advises players

Indian Cricket team face Australia in the World Cup semifinals

Kolkata, March 25 (IANS) As title holders India gear up to take on formidable Australia in a mouth-watering World Cup semifinal clash on Thursday, the team's former psychologist Sandy Gordon feels Virat Kohli and his young teammates need to stay focused on their task to keep their emotions in check on and off the field.

"They need to stay task-focused," Gordon told IANS from Australia.

Some of the Indian cricketers have in the past frequently failed to control their emotions on the field.

Recently, Kohli verbally abused a journalist during a World Cup practice session at Perth earlier this month. However, Gordon made it clear he has not followed the incident, and never met Kohli. Gordon's association with the Indian team goes back 12 years.

In 2003, the Ph.D holder was roped in by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to lift the spirits of the Sourav Ganguly-led side which was passing through an ebb during the World Cup in South Africa.

Current Indian World Cup team are excellent: Gordon

Eventually, Gordon's presence was a big success as the Indians reached the final in that edition of the marquee event. The Australian was the most talked about member of the contingent then with every Indian cricketer turning to him for advice.

When the University of Western Australia associate professor was asked to compare the 2003 Indian squad with the current crop of boys, he didn't take much time to say both are excellent sides.

"Both 2003 World Cup team and the current Indian World Cup team are excellent," he said.

According to Gordon, familiarity with the shorter formats of the game could have helped the Indian cricket team pull of a stunning performance in the ongoing Cup after their disastrous tour Down Under.

"It is possibly their familiarity with the shorter formats of the game that has helped India perform well in the World Cup," he said.

The socialisation factor is a vital point: Gordon 

Going into the semi-finals, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men have maintained a clean sheet winning all their group stage matches and beating Bangladesh convincingly in the quarter-final.

India's unbeaten run in the mega event has not just come as a surprise but has also silenced their critics. Since losing to South Africa four years back, India have won 11 World Cup matches on the trot, and Dhoni's men need just two more victories to clinch the third World title for the team.

Gordon had worked with the triumphant Australian World Cup team in 1999. When asked what made an Australian cricketer so tough, he said the socialisation factor was a vital point.

"Socialisation factors, tough sport society plus tough domestic cricket league makes them so tough," he said.

For the past couple of years, India's performance in Tests in overseas conditions has been a sore issue. Gordon said that a combination of factors might be the reason for their failure overseas.

"A combination of some factors might be the reason for their poor form," Gordon pointed out.

Apart from India and Australia, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe have also in the past utilised his services.

Gordon now stays busy teaching at the University of Western Australia as Associate Professor of Exercise, Health and Sport Psychology (School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health). He is also attached to Professional Golfers' Association (Golf) and basketball team Perth Wildcats.

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