Indian team's conditioning coach needs a break

Shankar Basu, the coach, wants to take some time off from the team owing to compelling family and business reasons. Basu, who has enjoyed his stint with the Indian team and wants to be a part of it in future too, has asked for ‘leave’ till the Champions Trophy, which begins in England in June 2017. Importantly, both Indian team coach Anil Kumble and Test captain Virat Kohli want Basu back in the Indian team and are said to be in touch with him.

Shankar Basu had refined the training methods for the Indian team.   -  M. VEDHAN

The Indian cricket team’s strength and conditioning coach Shankar Basu has requested the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for a break.

It has been learnt from reliable sources that Basu, who runs a chain of fitness centres in Chennai, needs to take some time off from the team owing to compelling family and business reasons. It has also been understood that Basu, who has enjoyed his stint with the Indian team and wants to be a part of it in future too, has asked for ‘leave’ till the Champions Trophy, which begins in England in June 2017.

He wants to join the Indian team after the break, sources have said. Importantly, both Indian team coach Anil Kumble and Test captain Virat Kohli want Basu back in the Indian team and are said to be in touch with him.

The BCCI, according to sources, is also keen on retaining the services of Basu who, many believe, has taken the fitness of the Indian team to the next level. The Board, though, might appoint an interim strength and conditioning coach till the Champions Trophy. Before that, India will play home ODIs and T20s against England, the one-off Test against Bangladesh, before taking on Australia in four home Tests.

After that, India will largely play away from home and this is where the team might require Basu’s expertise. Highly rated by Kohli, Basu has made the Indian captain and the team go through the latest power training methods.

Basu, who joined the Indian team in June 2015, introduced the side to Dexa Scan. A dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, it is a special type of x-ray that measures bone mineral density. It finds out whether the cricketer has fat or muscle mass. He also brought in the load monitoring app, which shows how much work a cricketer has put in and how much his body can withstand, bringing in objective data.

The Yo Yo endurance training, a variation of the beep method, a maximal running aerobic fitness test, was also employed by Basu, who believed in specific training for each format.

Apart from his work with Kohli, Basu’s job with the Indian pace trio of Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar has also been greatly appreciated. All three have bowled with more speed and fitness in recent times. Shami, in fact, made a sucessful return from a career-threatening knee surgery.

Star all-rounder R. Ashwin also acknowledged Basu’s contribution after being named the 'ICC Cricketer of the Year'.

In Basu’s time, there were three soft tissue fitness concerns. The others were ‘impact’ injuries about which a strength and conditioning coach can do little.

An earlier report had said that Basu had put in his papers, but the BCCI had refused to accept his resignation.