Former Banglaesh physio Paul Close is all set to take over as the physio of the Indian cricket team.

Wednesday, March 19, 2022

Paul Close to replace Gloster for RSA Series

Aswin Iyer

Outgoing physio John Gloster created a lot of flutter with his final fitness report. But the Indian team is unlikely to have a full-time replacement for him right away.

Instead the BCCI is looking to appoint National Cricket Academy (NCA)'s Paul Close of New Zealand as a stop-gap appointee for the South Africa series. Close is likely to join the Indian team from the time the team assembles in Chennai on March 22 before the series starts.

Close was appointed to the NCA at the insistence of Director of Operations Dav Whatmore in January this year. Close and Whatmore worked together with the Bangladesh national team from 2005 to 2007. Presently, Close is involved with trainer Paul Chapman, another Kiwi, in conducting fitness tests on the Test specialists and injured stars at the NCA.

Close's appointment is likely to be confirmed in the next couple of days and confirms the vague ways of the BCCI. A full-time appointment is not likely to happen till the Indian team travels either to Bangladesh or Zimbabwe for a one-day series in June.

New coach Gary Kirsten had suggested South Africa's ex-physio Craig Smith (from the Woolmer-Cronje era) as a possible choice for the Indian team, while the BCCI was keen on former physio Andrew Leipus. But while Smith's terms did not work out now, Leipus is attached to the Kolkata IPL team and so cannot make it.

For the South Africa series, the Indian team will also have on board Gary Kirsten's associate Paddy Upton as mental and physical conditioning coach on a two-year contract.