Cricket and Golf – You can learn from cricket's new format
I watched the first Twenty20 cricket match played in Australia this summer the other night. The Aussies were taking on the Kiwis in Perth. I was fascinated not so much by the cricket, although it was entertaining, but by the mindset of the Australian players. I believe the format and style this game is played in can provide golfers with a useful tool for learning.
Here’s what I found interesting;
Andrew Symonds was ‘miked up’ when he was batting. He was asked questions by the commentators in between balls. At first he gave standard answers to the commentary team, answers that I believe he thought were correct. Later on in his innings his real mindset became apparent.
When asked about where he was going to hit the ball he started to give a normal reply, “I’m going to hit it through cover” (I can’t remember exactly what he said but you get the point). He then when onto say that he was going to “just hit it”. I’m paraphrasing again, but he said he would see what gets delivered and deal with it then. This I believe is closer to his actual mindset.
I don’t think that a batter can really predict where the bowler will bowl to…it’s just not possible. It is also not possible to consciously think about HOW to hit the ball. The player MUST act subconsciously and in Symonds’ case, “just hit it”.
It’s interesting to note that Andrew Symonds went onto top score and be man of the match. Many might find this difficult to believe with the distraction of an ear piece and the questions from the commentary box. I think this is exactly the distraction a batsman would need to perform to his absolute best. His mind would not be thinking technique, it would be clear and allow his natural instinct to take over. This is the ideal mindset for all sportsmen, including golfers.
When the New Zealanders were batting Adam Gilchrist was miked up also. Being a wicket keeper he has to be concentrating on every ball. At times the commentators were talking to him as the bowler was running in. Like Symonds, this had no negative influence on his performance. If anything he performed above his potential, taking one amazing catch on an a fast and bouncing wicket.
It seemed to me that all the Australians had a fun and carefree attitude. I’m assuming they like the format has they get the chance to express themselves more. It seems some of the strict rules of cricket are thrown out the window and the players can ‘let loose’ with all of their skills.
This carefree attitude is ideal for sport. In an age where professionalism is taken too far, it was refreshing to see a change. It was fantastic to see the best in the world let their guard down and play for the fun of it. Everyone was rewarded by the result. The Australians won the match easily, the crowd would have enjoyed the spectacle (this includes dancers and fire twirlers) and the home viewers would have watched in droves.
It is no wonder that Twenty20 cricket appears to be the game of the future.
Maybe they could adopt some principles for the boring five day test matches? I suppose Test cricket is too serious for that!