Indian team needs a psychologist to help young players like Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant: Yuvraj Singh


Yuvraj Singh and Rishabh Pant

Ace former India batsman Yuvraj Singh on Tuesday said the Indian team needs a psychologist who can take care of the mental side of players, especially precocious talents like Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya who he feels have great potential.

Known to call spade a spade, Yuvraj said the team lacks a person who can work with a player’s head when needed and every individual is different from the other in that aspect.

“In this team, there is no one to talk to about the mental front of players. Guys like Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant are so talented. But now with so much scrutiny and media around, you need somebody to talk to,” Yuvraj said on Sportscreen’s YouTube page.

“The team needs a good psychologist. But he has to be respected,” said the 38-year old who helped India win the 2007 T20 and 2011 ODI World Cups with stellar performances.

“Hardik Pandya has immense potential. He has got amazing talent. Someone needs to work with his head so that he can perform in crunch situations. If somebody can work on his mind, he can be a serious asset as we go to the next World Cup.”

Asked about current coach Ravi Shastri, Yuvraj said the team has done well under him but it is the selectors who are thin on experience and thus pick players on the basis of few performances and even Indian Premier League (IPL) form.

“Under him (Shastri) players have done really well. They won in Australia. As a coach I don’t know how he is. I have hardly played under him. I know that you can’t have a particular way with every player. You have to have different ways with every player and I don’t see that in the coaching staff.

“You have guys like Vikram Rathour (India batting coach), he has been my senior. He has been a mentor at times when I was playing state, but with due respect if someone has not played cricket at that level for a longer time, the younger generation which is more prone to T20 and shorter format…what are you going to tell them? He might tell them technique, but there is nobody to work on the mental side.”

Yuvraj also took a dig at the Sunil Joshi-led selection panel, saying since they have not played much for India their mindset is such that they cannot challenge calls.

“I always tell selectors to challenge calls. But if your selectors have played 4-5 ODI matches, their mindset is like that only. These things did not happen when Sourav (Ganguly) or Mahi (MS Dhoni) was captain. We had a very experienced team in the 2011 World Cup (which India won),” he added.

Yuvraj also said KL Rahul and Hardik have the potential to break his T20 record of fastest international fifty in just 12 balls when he famously hit six sixes off England pacer Stuart Broad during the 2007 T20 World Cup.

“Two guys I thought could break the record are Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers. KL can do it he has 50 off 14 balls in the IPL but scoring a 50 in international cricket where all are quality bowlers and in IPL where you get two quality bowlers is not the same. But KL and Hardik have the potential.”

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