Cricket IQ: Mastering Game Sense

Cricket IQ: Mastering Game Sense

Arab culture talks about the contradiction of arrogance and wisdom, where you will have to recognise your limitations and shortcomings to actually defeat said limitations. While it’s not something that a self proclaimed ‘alpha male’ like Andrew Tate might consider, as a cricket player it’s vitally important not to lose yourself in your ego and arrogance.

The Australians had landed in India for a tour. The match razzmatazz had been showcased in a way that would put Barbenheimer to shame. The scene was set for a series for the ages, with hundreds of millions of fans around the world ready to spend their Thursday evenings glued to the television like an English dad to a pint of Beavertown’s finest. 

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Coming off a historic world cup win, their hitters entered the nets with their fear on a low and ego on a Burj Khalifa high. They squashed every delivery just as today’s generation squashes their hot takes in the fear of cancel culture. But when it came to actually performing in matches, they crumbled like a Parle G biscuit in a cup of tea. Why, you ask? It was due to them letting their ego do the talking. Their elite batters’ bat and impact speeds were almost half of what they were in the nets, and their bat lift angles were about 15 degrees wider. They wanted glory without getting familiar with foreign conditions first, which turned out to be the catalyst to their downfall.

This trend prolonged into the next set of training sessions and matches. Upon intensive studying the practice routines, the coaches called them out for their snobbery and introduced game sense training into their regime. Match like situations were given increased importance. The players were encouraged to replace their helmets with thinking caps, which made it easy to simulate imaginary field settings in their minds during net practice. Along with this, they practiced batting in the powerplay, middle overs, and death overs in order to replicate these match like situations, rather than the sitch hitting them like the first taste of Old Monk Rum. Suddenly their bat speeds started crossing the 100 kmph mark and bat lift angles began aligning with the initial indications, which was around 10 degrees.

Conditioned training like this is what eventually helped them overcome their shortcomings. Giving importance to game sense was what sent the ball into the spectator’s hands rather than to the nearest fielder. Eventually, the batters got more controlled in their approach throughout the game, and got back to the form that had put them on top of the world the year prior.

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