| Sandy Gordon at the Eden on Tuesday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta: Collective and individual sessions with Sandy Gordon marked Team India’s build-up to their opening 2003 World Cup game, versus Holland. In fact, it was then that the hot-shot sport psychologist suggested a theme be picked for the campaign. Sourav Ganguly and Co. chose ‘Now or Never’.
On Tuesday, while speaking to The Telegraph, Gordon again suggested the Indians adopt a theme — this time for the trip to Australia. “It serves as a vision, a goal... It helps give direction and, so, India should have one for what will be a tough tour,” he remarked.
Gordon, in town for a Board-funded project on mental toughness (an assignment which entails interviewing former India cricketers), added: “The World Cup theme worked rather well and, personally, I was quite pleased with India’s performance... Having self-belief and a vision is necessary.”
The respected pro iterated: “My advice, of course, is simple — ‘take your job seriously, but don’t take yourself seriously’... Sport isn’t about winning, it’s about getting the process right.” Incidentally, he was a member of Steve Waugh’s support team when Australia won the 1999 World Cup.
Looking ahead to the four-Test series, Gordon opined: “Adjusting to the bouncy wickets is a huge challenge but, as Steve himself said yesterday, Australia will find it hard to beat India... Sourav and his men must relax and not allow pressure to overwhelm... After all, if there’s something over which you have control, it’s the manner of thinking...”
While pointing out that India “must” focus on putting the pressure on Australia, Gordon continued: “In any case, the Indians are now much better tourists... Their confidence is more visible.”
Asked whether he had something specific for Sourav, Gordon replied: “Basically, three things... The captain must ensure there’s clarity in everybody’s role... He should adequately convey he has the confidence in all his players and, finally, must be pro-active and decisive.”
Gordon is expected to again have sessions with Team India, in Australia. “John (Wright) has spoken about it, though details need to be finalised (by the coach)... It’s fine with me, but we need to work out mutually convenient dates,” he signed off.
Perth-based, Gordon started as a physical education teacher in Glasgow and, then, moved to Canada where he took a degree in sport psychology. He did his doctorate there (University of Alberta) as well.
Calcutta, by the way, is Gordon’s last stop before returning home.
Chennai, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai and New Delhi were his previous ports of call. Inexplicably, in Mumbai, he only met Hanumant Singh.