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Why is “Batting in Cricket” different?

Talking to Cricket Experts – Shivnarine Chanderpaul, a legendary West Indian batsman and Steve Bull, a former England team psychologist on how to improve as a Batsman and why is Batting in Cricket, unique?

With the thoughts of World Cup lurking around the corners, the teams are working hard on their ultimate composition before the event.

Team composition is not just about finding the balanced batting order and formulating the bowling options. It is also about, defining the definite roles to the players, who are part of the team.

England Cricket team- a concrete favourite to win the title next year, has tried shuffling their Opening combinations in the last few months.

India, another front-runner, also has a task of fixing their middle-order before the all-important World Cup, which starts on May-30th, 2019. Sadly, they haven’t found their best option to bat at No.4 still. It is indeed surprising with the huge pipelines of talents the nation has in itself.

They have tried almost a dozen players in that position in the last few months.

Batting in Cricket is not that easy. It’s a quirky art to perform. Unlike other sports, the batsmen might not have another chance in the game to overcome their mistakes.

Unlike other sports, a slight error or misjudgment can get them out from the game.

 

Talking with the Experts

While reading an interview in betway, a sports betting website, with Steve Bull, who was England’s team psychologist from 1997 to 2014, he was very clear, that batting as a sporting discipline is so unique.

Adding on, “A slight error of technique and you are out,” said Bull. “One mistake. The margin is so ridiculously small, and the consequences of a mistake are so huge.

“The knock-on effect is that after two or three low scores, the rest of the mechanisms kick in and the confidence starts to go.

“It can take you into the abyss.”

Another interviewee was Shivnarine Chanderpaul, a West Indies legend at international level, where flaws are exposed most brutally and scrutiny is most intense.

Chanderpaul assertively agreed to Bull’s point.

He went on saying, “These days, bowlers study you more – it’s not that easy. Bowlers can tell when you’re struggling.

“In difficult conditions, you might be able to leave a few, but one or two you might nick off. It depends how long you’re able to stay out there if you can get lucky and miss those balls.”

Batting Experts tips

 

Influence of Luck in Cricket

And when asked about, how luck influences the game of Cricket, especially in batting, Bull was spot on.

His words were,

“A batsman can do “everything absolutely right” and still end up back in the hutch, an arbitrary feature of the game that can dictate the trajectory of a player’s career.

“There are many walks of life where, if you take control, if you’re confident, resilient and conscientious, it will take you far,” he said.

“In cricket, you can get that piece of bad luck, and that hard work comes to nothing.

“Conversely, if you’re in bad form and get dropped at second slip, then things go your way and you score a hundred: bingo. If that catch had gone to hand, that’s another failure.”

It was not news to Chanderpaul, who was one of the 8 Players to cap 150 Test matches in Cricket.

“I would always go out and play a bit harder if my place wasn’t on the line,” he said.

“I would just fight as hard as I could, try and bat as much as I could. You don’t want to be in that situation when you’re being put under pressure.

“You feel a little more relaxed, but you dig in.”

 

Unique Stance adding to Chanderpaul’s suspicion

According to Chanderpaul, his unique batting position of Standing Square to the bowlers, in theory, gave bowlers a better chance of dismissing him.

But the legendary batsman, credited “being true to the basics” for his longevity in the game.

“There wasn’t a coach telling me what I have to do, or where I have to be,” he explained.

“But you still have to remember the basics – eventually getting into a side-on position. Remember these things, and go out there and try and use them to help you through whatever period you have to go through.”

Chanderpaul Unique Batting Stance
Chanderpaul Unique Batting Stance

 

What do you do when you are inexperienced?

Finally, when asked about what can boost a young batsman to have some mental strength in tough times, Bull, the psychologist, wants them to bat with a positive mind.

“You can’t have a situation where your confidence is dictated by how many runs you’ve scored,“ said Bull. “That’s not a good state of affairs.

“That means that if you’re scoring well, you’re confident, and if you’re not, you’re not.

“Better players are resilient and tough players. They say: ‘I’m taking control of this. I’m going to feel confident. I’m feeling good in the nets, hitting the ball well, moving my feet.’

“That’s good psychology. If you are more of a worrier, very negative and very analytical, it can take you deeper into trouble.”

He even wants them to take a break sometime when they are not at their right mind.

“It is very much player-dependant,” he said.

“There were some players who liked structured thought and process-orientated strategy to get ready. With other players, the best they could do was to forget it.

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“It takes you to a sports psychologists’ favourite maxim: control the controllables.

“When a player is worried about whether they are going to get picked or not, they have no control. You’ve got to come to the next session completely refreshed and start again.”

So what would Chanderpaul do in that circumstance?

“If I was struggling, I would be in the nets, hitting some balls,” he says. “If I don’t feel good about it, I’ll do the work until I start feeling good.

“If I feel OK, I’ll ease off, take a breath, and not stress about it.”

 

The Keynote:

Steve Bull finished by saying,

“Don’t let that voice in your head take over,”

“Every day: start afresh, control the controllables, here we go.”

 

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