While most sports always give a second opportunity to make amends after making a mistake, the case is not the same for batting in cricket, although bowlers do get more than a ball to bowl to get back into the contest.
For batsmen, though, it can be a one-ball game. Make a mistake in that one ball, and it could cost them very dearly.
Batsmen do not have the luxury to make mistakes and have to be on their toes trying to do things with precision, whether it is footwork, keeping their concentration intact or get their calling right with their partner. One mistake and it could well be the end of their innings or even their career!
Steve Bull, a cricket psychologist, who has been with the England men’s cricket team until 2014 reveals on how batting is quite unique as a sporting discipline. A full analysis from Steve Bull and also former West Indian batting star Shivnarine Chanderpaul can be read here – Why batting is the cruelest discipline in sport.
Steve Bull has been in the thick of things in the dressing room, witnessing all the highs and lows. He certainly knows inside out of a cricketer’s mind!
Bull says: “A slight error of technique and you are out.
“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.”
Agreeing to what Bull has to say on the cricketing skill is Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who despite having a questionable batting stance, went on to be the one of the highest run getters in Test cricket. The Guyanese has been kind enough to give out some previous advice to the younger generation, by 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.”
On his mantra to success, despite his unique batting approach, Chanderpaul said: “There wasn’t a coach telling me what I have to do, or where I have to be.
“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.”
Steve Bull cautions young batsmen not to put themselves in a position where their confidence is dictated by the runs they had scored.
Bull said: “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.”
We hope that you did pick some useful insights from Steve Bull and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, which could indeed make you a better batsman going forward!