June 10, 2023

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided not to extend the tenure of India men’s team mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton. A full-fledged India squad led by Rohit Sharma is set to leave for Bangladesh next week for three ODIs and two Test matches that are part of the World Test Championships and Upton won’t be accompanying the team.

The 53-year-old Upton was roped in by the BCCI this July after head coach Rahul Dravid requested for a mental conditioning coach keeping the T20 World Cup in mind. The South African began his services from India’s tour of West Indies and was scheduled to be part of the team till the completion of the T20 World Cup. And with the team making an exit in the semifinals, the BCCI has now decided not to renew Upton’s contract.

Before Upton, the BCCI had decided against extending the tenure of the selection committee led by Chetan Sharma. During the World Cup one of India’s all-time greats Sunil Gavaskar was highly critical of Upton for “not doing anything with KL Rahul,” who was struggling in the tournament.

Although Upton’s tenure this time has ended on a disappointing note, he has previously been part of India’s 2011 World Cup-winning squad. Handpicked by then India head coach Gary Kirsten, he played an instrumental role in the team delivering under pressure on home soil.

During his first stint with the Indian team — between 2008 and 2011 — Upton worked in the dual role of mental conditioning coach and strategic leadership coach, developing a fine rapport with a lot of players, including Dravid. India also briefly reached the top of the ICC Test tree during that period. Later, Dravid and Upton worked together as coaches in the IPL with Rajasthan Royals.

At the end of the 2011 World Cup, Upton joined the South African team as its performance director and continued in that role until 2014. Upton has also had various stints with IPL franchises, taking up the task of head coach with Pune Warriors, Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils. He has also coached Lahore Qalandars and Sydney Thunder in Pakistan Super League and Big Bash League as well.

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