Strong back up for England team

Kevin Pietersen with spin bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed A 15-member support staff is accompanying the 16-member England squad that is coming to India for a four-match Test series.

With the load on players increasing manifold due to tight international scheduling, a large support staff usually travels with almost all national teams. But the size of the support staff that England is sending is possibly one of the largest that travels with their senior team.

England have become particularly cautious of playing on spin-friendly pitches in India and in conditions that they are not used to. Although winter is already setting in here, their players could still find it tough to cope with the conditions – and thus a large support staff to take good care of them in all situations and conditions.

It comprises a specialist for virtually to look after all the needs of the players in the squad, captained by Alastair Cook. Apart from the usual fast batting, bowling, and spin bowling coaches — all overseen by England teams director Andy Flower — there is a doctor, a sports analyst, a physiotherapist, a strength and conditioning coach, and a psychologist, to name a few.

And, then, there is of course security manager Reg Dickason, an experienced person who has been accompanying the English teams for a few years now.

Media manager Rhian Evans, who is accompanying the team on the tour of Dubai and India, confirmed that a 15-member support staff would be touring with the team. “... not all staff will be present for the entire tour,” Rhian told Mail Today as the team left England for Dubai.

Cook’s team will train at the ICC Global Cricket Academy in Dubai for three days after reaching there on Friday. From there, it will reach Mumbai on Monday, and will play two three-day warm-up matches there and then a four-day game in Ahmedabad before the first Test starts there on November 15.

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The unusual three warm-up games is a clear an indication that England want to prepare well so that a repeat of 2008, when India beat them 1-0 in the two-Test series, doesn’t occur.

One of the most important members of the English support staff is former Pakistan leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed. He has toured India with the England teams before and is expected to play a key role in deciphering and helping batsmen who generally find it hard to tackle spin.

SUPPORT STAFF:

  • Hugh Morris - managing director, England Cricket
  • Phil Neale - team manager
  • Andy Flower - England team director
  • David Saker - fast bowling coach
  • Mushtaq Ahmed - spin bowling coach
  • Graham Gooch - batting coach
  • Richard Halsall - assistant coach
  • Nathan Leamon - sports analyst
  • Rob Young - doctor
  • Ben Langley - physiotherapist
  • Huw Bevan - strength and conditioning coach
  • Mark Bawden - psychologist
  • Mark Saxby - masseur
  • Rhian Evans - media manager
  • Reg Dickason - security manager

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