India's fielding coach R Sridhar has asserted that Shubman Gill is the most complete athlete he has seen. He also revealed that India are looking at the World Test Championship final just as any other ordinary game and reckons being under-prepared can prove helpful for Kohli and co.
Ever since Virat Kohli has taken over the reins of Indian cricket, the fitness landscape in the country has changed for the good. He has led the team by example and now we see that Indian players are finally able to compete with the top teams in the world when it comes to fitness standards. In fact, the Indian skipper is considered one of the fittest athletes in the world of cricket.
And as it turns out, Shubman Gill, considered the apparent heir of Virat Kohli isn't only similar to him in terms of his stroke-play. He's a decent athlete too. And according to India's fielding coach R Sridhar, Shubman Gill is the most complete athlete he has ever seen, with good hand-eye coordination.
"Talking about Shubman, I feel he is the most complete athlete I have seen. He is slim, tall, runs fast and has got good hand-eye coordination," R Sridhar told TOI.
Sridhar also pointed out that new players are often analysed before their first-team debut, with their performance in the IPL and India 'A', which then goes on to determine their position on the field.
"On most occasions when a new player comes in --- we know his strengths and weaknesses as we would have seen him play in the IPL or in India 'A'. My job as the fielding coach is to make sure his mindset is in tune with the national team. We also observe his hand-eye coordination, his reflexes, how good his hands are, his speed to the ball and ability to throw from the deep and ball sense. We make sure to use these aspects and train youngsters to stay at the peak of their abilities."
From June 2 onwards, New Zealand will take on England in the first Test of the two-match series before taking on India in the World Test Championship finale. In comparison, India would be playing their first encounter in England directly in the WTC finale without getting any high-intensity Test. Despite that, R Sridhar believes that being under-prepared might help India, as they will be mentally fresher.
"I don't think not having game time is a worry at all. I feel being under-prepared could work in our favour because our players will be more than ready mentally. It's akin to playing with an injury. When you are injured --- you begin to concentrate much more and are more alert from the word go. Also, our players have been playing non-stop cricket for the last few months. It's unfortunate that the IPL had to be suspended. I am sure that the players are keeping themselves fit during this period of quarantine and will be fresh for the WTC final," Sridhar said.
The India fielding coach also feels that the WTC finale will be an evenly-contested game and revealed that India are just taking it like any other game.
"The World Test Championship final is a clash between two evenly-matched sides. Both teams have played top-quality cricket and I am sure the final in Southampton will be a very well-contested encounter. As far as our team is concerned, we will be taking this as just another game and prepare with the same intensity that we do for any other clash."