Gary Grewal's Blog (#3): In-Form In-Rhythm

In-Form In-Rhythm

Do you know someone who averages around the same number no matter what level of cricket they are playing? Maybe this is you? This is why they say cricket is 90% mental.

My own experience dealing with this phenomenon has helped me divide batting innings into conscious and subconscious segments. Most batsmen are very conscious when they first walk in, they are conscious about the wicket, the bowler the field and everything else but as they score a few runs they ease in and start getting fluent. These are the Type A batsmen.

Every batsman has their own way of moving out of that conscious state of mind to a subconscious one. Most do it by steadily building innings, but you have those rare batsmen who do it by taking the attack to the bowler. They will come out guns blazing score a quick 20 odd and then settle down, these are the guys who absolutely have to bat in the top 3, or come in with a license to attack because they long for that powerplay or that freedom to get going. This is the ‘He can win it for us from any situation’’ breed, because their runs are dependent on the subconscious mindset. They will struggle on a sticky wicket, they will make the captain lose his mind by throwing it away when they are going well. That is because they absolutely don’t want to start slow or change gears. These are your Type 2s.

Everyone is prone to that jaffa that they find themselves defenseless against, but those are the outliers. Most of the time batsmen gets out cuz their natural rhythm has been interrupted. Good batsman know how to gently slip back into the subconscious frame of mind without causing too much fuss. If a bowler is bowling a good spell they know how to downshift temporarily whereas, a less experienced batsman will have more trouble adapting and when pulled out of that subconscious frame of mind he will try to force himself back into it with a big shot.

There is also a third category, we all know players, who will score 20 odd in almost every game but they will rarely convert. They will look solid getting into 20s, because they are good at focusing and they are good at conscious batting, these are also the guys who do well in big games, tough wickets and when the team is under pressure, or anytime when you have to curb your instincts and stay in the conscious frame of mind for longer. Batting under pressure is essentially batting consciously hence that breed of players who do well during a collapse or in a big game. These are the players who need to embrace this characteristic and look at their ability to perform better in a conscious state of mind as a boon and not a curse of taking too long to get in. They will eventually hit the cruise button but it’s just going to take longer. Consistent batting in most cases is like going on a road trip and knowing which route you are taking. You start off slow, get yourself off the busy streets on to the highway and hit cruise, but you will meet traffic on your route, and great batsmen know how to navigate through that and keep going .