Peter Roebuck’s part-impassioned, part-reasoned statement for the defense in the case of one day internationals apart, the only really interesting read for the day is the latest in Aakash Chopra’s series on cricket from the pov of a player — and his article, on how teams prepare the evening before a game, comes apropos with India due to take the field tomorrow at the start of a new season.
It is, as Aakash’s columns generally tend to be, interesting; this particular one has the added benefit of contrasting a national team’s preparation ahead of a game with how the domestic teams do it. We moan often about the gulf between the domestic and international levels — this column gives you an idea of one of the elements that go towards creating that chasm.
That was just a glimpse of how team meetings are at the highest level. But things are quite different one level lower. Most team meetings in first-class cricket revolve around the senior players reminding everyone of the importance of the game, and some motivational stuff. Analysing the opposition in detail rarely happens: there’s very little data available for analysis, and we are not intent on using whatever little we have. While most first-class teams have employed video analysts to cover their matches and practice sessions, the footage ends up becoming a tool only to analyse that team’s own batting and bowling.
Most coaches at this level – barring a few – are from the old school. One such coach, an ex-India allrounder, once claimed that a player should remember the strengths and weaknesses of every opponent he had ever played against. This sounds ridiculous, but that’s exactly what certain team meetings are all about.