The official also said that the two accused cricketers will not have separate sessions that will be for the entire team.
With cricket turning more professional and with that, psycho-scientific, efforts are undertaken to make the players’ mental and behavioural set-up sounder. In the past, the Indian cricket team was seen taking help of mental coach like Paddy Upton and also gaining from it (it was during his stint in India that the Men in Blue won their second World Cup title in 2011). Now, after the recent controversy involving all-rounder Hardik Pandya and batsman KL Rahul, the authorities are considering introducing behavioural counselling programme for the Indian team.
Pandya and Rahul have faced an indefinite suspension since their appearance on a show of ‘Koffee With Karan’ where they, especially the former, was found to be talking things that were not perceived to be in good taste. The controversy led to such an outrage that both the players had to return home mid-way from the Australia series.
It was worse for Pandya as the ace all-rounder was just about to make a return after an injury break. The suspension seems to have put the career of both players in jeopardy, even if temporary. Their fate will be decided by an ombudsman which is yet to be appointed by the Supreme Court.
Programme to cover all-age national teams and ‘A’ squads
The Committee of Administrators (CoA) that runs the BCCI is considering starting a behavioural counselling programme for the Indian team in the wake of the controversy and it will also include national teams of all age groups and the ‘A’ squads, TOI reports suggested.
“The Indian senior team as well as the Emerging, A teams and U-19s will have behavioural counselling session at the National Cricket Academy (NCA). The course will deal with every aspect of a professional sportsperson’s life. There will also be sessions on gender sensitivity,” a senior BCCI official, privy to the development, has been quoted on the condition of anonymity.
The official also said that the two accused cricketers will not have separate sessions that will be for the entire team. However, the course could be more beneficial for U19 cricketers who get a lot of focus at a young age, thanks to tournaments like the Indian Premier League (IPL) that make heroes overnight.
“Players like 17-year-olds Prabh Simran Singh (Rs 4.8 crore for KXIP) or Prayas Ray Burman (Rs 1.6 crore for RCB) have become overnight millionaires even before playing a single Ranji match. There should be life coaches, who would counsel them,” a former India player was quoted as saying.
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