- Big-Match Players Like Virat Kohli May Struggle Without Crowd Support: Paddy Upton
- Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli is known to perform better in big matches
- He said the absence of crowds may hamper players who thrive on pressure
Experienced Mental Conditioning coach Paddy Upton said that cricketers like Virat Kohli depend on external stimulation and are used to “pressure” are “really going to struggle” in front of an empty stadium, on the other hand, the self-motivated players will “do a hell lot better” in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL 2020).
The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League will be held in a bio-secure environment behind closed doors owing to the raging global pandemic of COVID-19 and Upton feels many players might struggle.
Talking to ESPNcricinfo Newsroom, Upton said, “The big-match temperament players do well when the pressure is on, when there are a lot of people around. The fact that you are gonna have games in front of empty stadiums now, you are just not going to have that level of pressure,”.
He said, “So the players who rely on big-match temperament to deliver results … Someone like Virat Kohli, will he still be as good when you take away that external stimulation and noise and pressure?” and added that “You are gonna find players who normally fall over when the pressure gets high. They will be able to just carry on batting because there is not going to be the physical presence of spectators.”
The 51 year old South African mental conditioning coach who has served as the mental conditioning coach for team India when it went on to win the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, said that internally driven players will outperform cricketers who look for external validation.
Upton, who also served as the Performance Director of South Africa between 2011 to 2014 added, “Athletes who are internally driven, who find the motivation from within themselves, they are going to be fine, they are going to do well. Your typical confidence players, who look for motivation, inspiration or validation from outside, they are really going to struggle,”.
Upton also commented on optimism, “Your (a team’s) optimists are going to do a hell lot better. Your pessimists are gonna struggle. So it depends on how many introverts, internally driven, optimists you have got in your team. The more you have got, the luckier you actually are.”
One day after 13 members from IPL 2020 franchise Chennai Super Kings, including 2 players, tested positive for the novel Coronavirus in Dubai, all rounder Suresh Raina exited the T20 tournament because of “personal reasons” and returned to India creating a wave before the tournament which is set to begin from 19th of September 2020.
Upton, who has also coached multiple teams in the IPL, Big Bash League and also Pakistan Super League, said staying in a bubble for three months is not an easy task and many cricketers might be in the “same boat” as Raina, warning the teams to be prepared as “funny things” can happen during the tournament.
Upton said, “There are a number of other players who are very much in the same boat as Suresh Raina and I just hope that the teams are aware of that and are catering for that. There are coaches who are gonna be struggling, there are support staff who are gonna be struggling in that three-month bio-bubble.
“We need to be predicting these strange things and not have a knee-jerk reaction. Funny things are gonna happen. Smart teams will predict them, put things in place, and have that cushion of support system to be able to support players,”.