Travelling with the Mithali Raj-led Indian team in New Zealand during the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup (and the preceding bilateral series) is sports psychologist Mughda Bavare.
Bavare’s presence has been acknowledged by coach Ramesh Powar, all-rounders Sneh Rana and Pooja Vastrakar and vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur and captain Mithali Raj.
“I think as a head coach, I wanted that help because it’s a high pressure tournament,” Powar had said before India’s match against West Indies. “Looking at our history, I wanted players to be at ease when they play this kind of high pressure tournament and she’s been with us from England - I think it’s been almost six - more than six months and in person I think first time she’s traveling with us and it is helping us a lot - if you remember how we used to react to collapses, I think the way Pooja and Rana addressed that collapse [n the match against Pakistan] – it is a part of mindset and that’s what she works on - and moving forward. I hope it will help us getting the right results and the mindsets.”
Mumbai-based Dr. Bavare, a former swimmer, has been with the Mumbai Cricket Association since 2006 and has previously worked with the Mumbai and Bengal Ranji Trophy teams. She has also worked with a number of athletes who have represented India at the Olympics and Asian Games in various sports.
In a video released by BCCI, she explained her process, the challenges players face and more:
On the importance of focusing on the mental aspect of cricket:
Over a period of time, especially the last few years, the players have realised that mental training or the mental aspect of the game has become a very important part of the game and players do carry an emotional package with them when approaching these big games.
It is important you address these emotional packages as a professional and speak to the players accordingly.
On the process she goes about to guide these players:
First of all identifying and recognising what is it that is going on in their mind. The thought process is very important to understand. Once I get an idea of the kind of thought process that they are into either related to their training or their matches, then I start my individual work with every player and then guide them with techniques that can suit them on the ground and on the day of the match.
On how she tackles challenges players face:
Most common challenges that I have found especially with our players because there’s a little bit of fear of failure that is attached. Then, there is pressure of expectation that is attached. There is also what they keep in mind when it comes to consistent performances that they need to keep giving.
I have certain patterns and I do some observations of the players and for me, observing their body language, observing their attitude and the way they are reacting to certain situations whether in training or in matches. That is the kind of observation I maintain and I share those observations with them when I’m having individual sessions.
Watch the full video here.