From fun to life skills: How Team India's bonding enhanced over the years

The current Indian cricket team actively take part in bonding sessions, which are carefully planned during an away series. It could be anything from fun games to having a simple meal in a group of four

A team that stays together, plays together

At least that's what the Indian team management believes as its plans various activities during long tours which has a two-fold gain, to switch off a bit and also enjoy each other's company off the field which is very important for on-field performances.

The current Indian team also actively take part in bonding sessions, which are carefully planned during an away series. It could be anything from fun games to having a simple meal in a group of four.

(Source: @BCCI)

(Photograph:Twitter)

Paint ball before the World Cup

Before the start of the World Cup, Indian team was seen playing paint ball along with the support staff.

Now that there is a break before the next game against Afghanistan on June 22, some bonding activities are planned.

(Source: @imVkohli)

(Photograph:Twitter)

Bonding during strenuous exercises

The team members are provided with a weekly activity schedule and they are told to do things which are more organic in nature than forced.

"In this Indian team, the bonding sessions have been a part for some years now. It could be some fun games and at times some other activity," a senior BCCI official told PTI.

"The seniors with their practical experiences could help the juniors out or may be dividing them into groups of three, with the same gym slot. Bonding during some strenuous exercises isn't a bad idea either," he added.

(Source: @imVkohli)

(Photograph:Twitter)

'Leadership Group' - Kohli, Rohit and Dhoni

While Virat Kohli is the captain, the team's 'Leadership Group' has three members - Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

At times, in a team of 15, the 12 players are divided into groups of four and they are handled by each of the three senior members.

It's not only about cricket but seniors are encouraged to speak to the junior players about other aspects of life also where they can take a cue from them.

(Photograph:AFP)

Indian team lover playing football

Team bonding sessions have been in vogue in Indian cricket for long, only the terminology has changed with changing times.

In 70's, it used to be Sunday Clubs, a concept that was borrowed from English counties where players were told to dress up in a certain way or enact certain scenes.

There used to be punishments like walking from one's own hotel room to the team activity room in underwear with a necktie tied around the waist, or else, some were made to dance.

The Indian team has been always interested in playing football when ever they get time, whether as warm-up or for charity events.

(Photograph:AFP)

How it started?

It became more of a fun during Gary Kirsten's time and Paddy Upton's much-acclaimed book 'Barefoot Coach' has pictures of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir dressed as women during a play they were part of.

From the mid 90's till early 2000s, the team bonding activities hardly took place, especially during Mohammed Azharuddin's era when the Indian side was a disjointed unit with not much trust existing between the players.

But slowly, the scenario changed and the team started taking part in off-pitch activities to better the dressing room atmosphere and camaraderie between players and team management. 

(Photograph:AFP)

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