New Delhi:The Indian cricket team will, for the first time, have a mental conditioning coach with Paddy Upton set to join the support staff as recommended by new coach Gary Kirsten.
Kirsten, who will formally take over the high-profile job in March next year, was keen to have Upton in the coaching team and the BCCI was expected to ratify his appointment in the Working Committee meeting in Mumbai on December 16.
"Kirsten wants to have Upton in the support staff. The matter will come up for discussion in the Working Committee meeting. His appointment would have to be ratified by the Working Committee," a top BCCI source said today.
Upton, a school friend of the new India coach, currently works as a mental conditioning coach at Kirsten's academy in Cape Town.
He was also a fitness trainer with the South African cricket team from 1994-98 and also worked with the Western Province Rugby team. He then quit to concentrate on the psychological side of the game and became a mental conditioning coach.
Although India did not have a full-time mental conditioning coach in the past, the two previous foreign coaches -- John Wright and Greg Chappell -- had sought services of specialist sports psychologists for brief stints during their tenure.
While New Zealander Wright had turned to eminent Australian sports psychologist Sandy Gordon to have interactions with the players, Chappell had relied on West Indian Rudy Webster to motivate the players.
The 40-year-old Kirsten had talked about including Upton in the support staff during his interview with the BCCI coach selection committee on November 26, saying he could add value to the team.
The source said that the two-year contract offered to the former South African opener was identical to the one given to Chappell.
"The terms and conditions as well as the financial package is almost the same as offered to Chappell," the source said.
If that is the case, Kirsten will get an annual basic salary of approximately Rs 74 lakh, besides other perks.
Kirsten will be given a daily allowance equal to that of a player during matches and will get an annual travel allowance of Rs 8.60 lakh, a share of the logo money and a fixed amount for communication expenses when with the team.