Former India batsman Sandeep Patil on Sunday advised players to remain mentally strong and ensure an injury-free return to cricket when the game resumes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. After a halt in the cricket calendar due to the coronavirus pandemic, the first international match begins next month between England and the West Indies in bio-secure venues. There is no cricket match lined up for the Indians immediately.Also Read - Chandigarh Schools, Colleges to Reopen from This Date, Vaccination Must | Details Here

“These are pretty uncertain times and the challenge to bounce back without any injuries will be a real task for any player. But they need to remember that all these challenges will first have to be dealt strongly in the mind,” Patil was quoted as saying on ‘Star Sports show – ‘Winning the Cup — 1983’. Also Read - Vaccination, Infection May Lower Long COVID Symptoms: Study

“You need to begin slowly and ensure that you tune your focus firmly on making an injury-free comeback. Even during my tenure as coach of Kenya, I used to always focus on players being mentally strong before any tournament.” Also Read - Scientists Develop Lab-In-A-Backpack For Cheaper, Accurate COVID Testing

The 63-year-old, who played 29 Tests between 1980 and 1984, cited the example of India’s 1983 World Cup final triumph against the mighty West Indies, saying the match proved how mental strength can win games.

“During 1983 World Cup final, after we were restricted to 183, we thought we were down and out. But before stepping onto the field for second innings, we all made a very fervent resolution in our minds and as a team. The rest they say is history!

“Bowling to likes of Greenidge, Viv Richards was no easy task but because we were focussed on laying our hands on that trophy, we were able to do it. So, being mentally mature is very important for any sportsperson, not just cricketers,” said Patil who was a member of that World Cup-winning team.