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Former New Zealand batsman and captain

To bat right, get your mind right

Footwork may be crucial to the batsman's art, but a mind rooted in the present moment is just as great a weapon

Martin Crowe

March 20, 2014

Comments: 53 | Text size: A | A

Don Bradman: a clear mind was among his most notable attributes © Getty Images

Mind and body are undoubtedly connected, go hand in hand. I looked at the importance of footwork in batting last week; that leaves the more intangible, more controversial, mindwork to look at.

Of all the sports I have attempted to play - tennis, golf, rugby, soccer, and many others - the greatest challenge of all, I believe, is that of batting in cricket, where one ball can be enough to end the contest. One lousy ball.

It is this mental challenge of dealing with one ball at a time, knowing one mistake and it's over, that is the focus of this piece.

When it comes to batting, which is based on reacting to the release of a ball by a bowler, the mind is on full alert. At the moment the ball is released, the eyes start feeding the brain, which then directs the body to respond, all in a split second.

Succeeding at Test cricket over a reasonable period is not a thing you can fluke. Realistically, at some stage in a career, the batting mind-body challenge will get you. It can play with your thinking, and mess with your responses, resulting in a failure to move properly, causing the runs to dry up.

I will assess the mindsets of two batsmen I have studied over time - Don Bradman and Sachin Tendulkar, two positive examples - and my own.

Bradman had the greatest record and legacy of all batsmen. His footwork became legendary and influential for generations to come, but it was surely his mind and his ability to clear his thoughts away that was his greatest attribute. Bradman, there is no doubt, was misunderstood, especially by team-mates who stood shoulder to shoulder with him. They couldn't work out the mechanics of his mind, nor his beliefs and ability to perform beyond the norm, and some of them became envious of his record-breaking run-making.

Bradman was brought up in rural New South Wales, where much of his upbringing was spent playing out by the back of the house, on his own, hitting a golf ball against a water tank with a single stump. When he joined the higher ranks at a young age, he took with him a single-mindedness and a natural naivete. As he began to taste more worldly experiences on his travels, his mind stayed true to his dreams. He only wanted to bat. And the only way he knew how to do that was to trust his conditioning, his beliefs and his thoughts. He saw the ball and moved accordingly.

Bradman was a private, single-minded man. He didn't drink, smoke, or socialise much during his playing days, unlike those he played with. He was different and he quickly became alienated due to his unexampled existence.

In a recent address at Lord's, his son John shared writings from his father's diary, in particular to do with the first few weeks of the 1930 England tour, when Bradman played outside Australia for the first time. After a long boat trip, during which he often lay sick in his bed, he stepped out on to the Nursery at Lord's to prepare for the five-month tour.

Bradman had only a couple of nets to acclimatise before walking out to bat in Worcester for the opening match. In fresh, green, bowler-friendly conditions, he scored 236 in under five hours. For a 21-year-old it was an extraordinary innings, given it was his first outside of his homeland. It was a clear precursor to the mesmeric run of form to come throughout that unprecedented summer. In essence, no matter what the conditions, his thinking was sharp and focused: he saw the ball, reacted and moved accordingly, and that fearless mindset never left him. For one with no experience whatsoever in foreign conditions, it was a breathtaking performance.

Despite the accolades and the expectation that grew from innings to innings, Bradman remained grounded and resilient. He never deviated from the original day-to-day thinking of his upbringing. He was not tempted to break out and let his hair down, on or off the field; instead, much to the annoyance of some of his more outgoing team-mates, he kept his eye on the ball. No innings meant more than the one he was about to play, no matter the size of the last score he had made. Unemotionally he moved from one match to the next with a consistent hunger to express his art. It was unrivalled thinking.

Bradman prepared for matches by attending musical shows. His favourite to watch was opera singer Dame Nellie Melba. The night before his monumental 254 in the second Test on that tour, at Lord's, in his words the greatest innings of his life, he was inspired by a performance by Dame Nellie. For Don, it appeared music and cricket went together; the footwork was his movement to the beat. He danced at the crease like no other, because in his mind he heard the sound of the moment. It steadied him mentally for the body to exert wondrous movement.

 
 
Fear of getting out is really an illusion, a negative thought with feeling added to it, about past failures and / or future ones. It needn't be there at all. The fact is, you will get out, so there is no need to fear it
 

Bradman had the advantage of only playing in two countries throughout his Test career, England and Australia. It meant he never had the mental and physical burden of travelling and coping, especially with problems to do with health, in more foreign lands. His overall average would have dropped perhaps a little, had he played in more places, but probably not by much. The point is that he stuck to his beliefs, he maintained a clear mind, and even at the age of 40 his mental aptitude was astonishing as it adjusted to the natural slowing down of a body and an immune system that had been tested enough. Only Bodyline in 1932-33 affected his psyche somewhat, as it actually threatened life and limb. Without question, Bradman had the greatest mind of them all.

Next to him on that scale would be Tendulkar. To endure 24 years, in all parts of the globe, against all measure of bowlers, under epic expectations, with the distraction of three different formats, required a mind that simply had to be strong and resilient to succeed. He never buckled for any period. Sure, he had rare moments of despair, but the quickness with which he bounced back with a clear mind, fleet of foot, to notch another century, was his hallmark.

Tendulkar, from the age of 16, spent his first 21 Tests playing away from home, bar one. He learnt quickly to absorb and adjust, and cement a mindset that would serve him unwaveringly for a staggeringly long time.

Expectation gone wrong is a mind-killer. The adoration he received on a daily basis would have worn him down at times, yet he always responded with a smile, a graciousness, a humility pure and natural. His mind, from an early age, was fuelled with love for the game, love for his father's wisdom and advice, and his thoughts flowed with positivity and assuredness. If you wondered how he played so calmly, so fluently and so straight, given the weight of expectation, it was because his mind never strayed from the humility he breathed, and the mindfulness, that acute awareness, of where his genius came from. Tendulkar was a centred soul, spiritually aligned, and he breathed a tranquility and stillness, a trait displayed by the wise sages.

From my own perspective, my mind was often filled with thoughts, coupled with underdeveloped emotions. It wasn't a great mix in which to take on the art of batting at the top level. My footwork was sure and a priority, yet I quickly realised that footwork and mindwork go hand in glove. I needed some mental crutches and so I sought out the new phenomenon of sports psychology to deal with an overflow of desultory musing.

I learnt techniques of visualisation, of playing the future out in the mind first, using pictures. I learnt concentration - turning on and off to conserve energy, and encouraging a fierce focus for each ball for five-second periods. I tried removing negatives with Bruce Lee tips, imagined screwing an imaginary piece of paper up with my hand, tried to stay in the now by activating one of the five senses in between balls.

Most of all, I learnt to repeat affirmations one after the other ("Head still, head still, watch the ball, watch the ball"), slowly and deliberately, to block out any unforeseen random thought ("What if I get out?") that might jump into my head and trip me up again. Yet using these techniques was akin to a lost man trying to find his way to safety.

I learnt to remove emotion by forcing my body language so strongly as to bluff the opposition that I was "on" on any given day, in the zone. Faking it until I made it helped overcome confidence lapses. I sought help from those who could help me calm down. I never engaged in gamesmanship, in sledging.

Overall, the mindwork I did proved exhausting - having to disguise a contaminated flow of thoughts. Not surprisingly, the lack of natural positive thinking, of authenticity, got me in the end. Ten years of "performed" mind control was my limit.

The key, from what I have learnt, from what I now believe, is that no matter your experiences and circumstances, your reality is in the present moment - what you are living in the feeling of your thinking in the present moment. That's your truest reality. It is not the memory of what went before, or the concern of what may come in the future, that is real. In batting, it is the clear-minded thinking of watching and moving to the present ball being bowled that is real.

I realise also that visualisation worked only when I was truly in the moment of seeing images of me thinking and batting positively. It prepared me for the event to come. When it came together, like at Lord's in 1994, when I was well prepared from visualising positively, then I easily settled into thinking and batting positively in the present. It worked, but it couldn't be sustained.

Fear of getting out is really an illusion, a negative thought with feeling added to it, about past failures and / or future ones. It needn't be there at all. The fact is, you will get out, so there is no need to fear it; simply delay the inevitable for as long as possible.

You can succeed if you clear away everything that's not to do with the present moment, the next ball, if you remove old baggage or concern about what might happen in time. Just think about watching the ball leave the bowler's hand. That's it.

Simplicity.

That is what Bradman and Tendulkar did. During their teenage years they developed a resilience about keeping their minds present and consistent. That age is a key time of one's thought development. They mastered the moments. They didn't get confused. They went from one ball to the other, one match to another, exploring its possibility and expressing their own potential, and that's why they went on and on at such a high level.

Perhaps Mahatma Gandhi says it best. "A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes."

Martin Crowe, one of the leading batsmen of the late '80s and early '90s, played 77 Tests for New Zealand

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Posted by jay57870 on (March 25, 2014, 14:56 GMT)

It is what it is! To hypothesise - that had Bradman played in the modern era he'd have done this or that - is an exercise in futility! Who knows? To assume that he'd have bettered a modern batsman's avg - let alone maintained his magical 99.94 - is statistical nonsense. No statistician can extrapolate results, given the uncertainties of the real world. Today's 24x7 cricket is markedly different with 3 formats, tight schedules, intense competition & uncertain variables (pitches, conditions, injuries, burnout, etc). It is what it is! Thus it's much to Sachin's credit that he's sustained high performance (from age 16 to 40): an extraordinary 24-year career! That's precisely the point: It's because of his phenomenal Staying Power, not just longevity or more matches, that he's outstripped his closest rivals like Ponting & Kallis. Little wonder a distinguished 50-member international cricket jury, Martin Crowe included, voted Tendulkar as "The Cricketer of the Generation"! It is what it is!!

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (March 25, 2014, 14:20 GMT)

And let us not forget that Bradman's passion and love for the game can not be questioned.

The reason? He earned very little money from playing. Therefore, one can not say that he played a long time because of the $$

Because of the huge sums paid to top players in recent times, (not to mention endorsements), one can not be so sure about their true, underlying motivation for playing long careers.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (March 25, 2014, 13:43 GMT)

And Bradman scored more test double centuries than any other batsman. Amazing considering he played 52 test matches - just imagine if he had the opportunity to play more games like the payers of recent times.

The next highest test average by a player with more than 20 innings was the great Graeme Pollock = 61. So much for the argument "it was much easier in the old days" -

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (March 25, 2014, 13:25 GMT)

We also must remember that Bradman played without a helmet on uncovered pitches and not against weak teams - only against the strong test playing teams.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (March 25, 2014, 13:23 GMT)

Kallis is probably the best batsman of the past 20 years, because instead of daydreaming in the covers and taking things easy he was also a front line bowler and a top fielder to boot.

Posted by jay57870 on (March 25, 2014, 12:36 GMT)

Let us also not forget Tendulkar batted in 463 ODIs mostly as an Opener - as "most difficult" as it gets - facing the world's fiercest pace bowlers & smartest spinners. Add his 200 Tests, he faced the likes of McGrath, Warne, Hadlee, Donald, Steyn, Kallis, Ambrose, Walsh, Wasim, Waqar, Shoaib, Malinga & Muralitharan! Some of Sachin's best batting came against Australia. It drew the admiration of the venerable Neil Harvey ("The Kid" on Don's 1948 team). Harvey said Sachin's milestone of 200 Tests is "like Bradman's 99.94, it will stay forever"! Sachin played these 663 matches on 105 grounds (w/ all sorts of pitches & weather) in 16 nations, amassing a record 34,347 runs & 100 centuries. Such was his total dominance, that he outstrips his closest rival Ponting by 7,265 runs & 29 tons - it exceeds (runs) & equals (tons) what the great Don scored in his entire Test career! The wide gap between Tendulkar & the rest is clear as daylight itself!!

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (March 25, 2014, 10:29 GMT)

And let us not forget that Bradman batted most of his career in the most difficult No.3 position, coming in against the moving ball more often than other contenders for the best batsman.

For much of their careers, Lara for example did not bat at No.3 and neither did Viv Richards or Tendulkar, but these batsmen were shielded by solid No.3 batsman, so when they finally came to the wicket the batting was easier.

Yet another reason why Bradman is the best, daylight is the second best and the others we can debate who should be 3rd best of all time.

Posted by   on (March 23, 2014, 18:30 GMT)

brilliantly done piece of writing, makes me keep wishing I had watched The Don batting.Are there any recorded innings of his that can be purchased anywhere?

Posted by jay57870 on (March 23, 2014, 13:33 GMT)

Yes Martin: Sachin's extraordinary "mindset" served him "unwaveringly for a staggeringly long time"! It's his Staying Power! That's what drove Sachin's career for over 24 long years. It's reflected in his mental toughness & physical endurance: the mind-body ability to play through pain & injury, slumps & fatigue; to face adversity & crises; and yes, to handle the pressures of public expectations & media scrutiny; not to mention personal security threats these days. That's precisely the point: he's outlasted his rivals (not just longevity or more matches) by staying the long course & pushing the limits of human performance. His international records of 34,357 runs & 100 tons are likely unmatchable. Much like the Don's 99.94. It's a totally different era now: Modern cricket's much more complex & competitive - with 3 formats, 24x7 schedules, diverse conditions & pitches worldwide. The bar is higher. Add to it, Sachin's integrity, loyalty & humility, there's no doubt: "He is the One'!

Posted by jay57870 on (March 23, 2014, 13:24 GMT)

Martin - Bulls-eye on "present moment"! As Peter Roebuck too observed: "Here's the secret to Sachin's success: always stay focused on the next ball"! That was in 2010. Tendulkar became the ICC international cricketer of the year. Team India claimed the top Test ranking. Then in 2011 they lifted the "game's most prestigious trophy": World Cup! All these achievements at age 37, when many "experts" had written Sachin off as "on his last legs". Remember he faced a career-threatening tennis elbow injury in 2004. He continued to play through pain & had surgery a year later. He thought his career was over. It was a very difficult period of his life as he underwent an arduous rehab regimen. He never gave up. Not only did he bounce back, he reinvented himself each time he faced adversity. The secret behind his renewal: His passion & love for the game! As Peter proclaimed: "Cricket is his game and his way of life"! All these "secrets" surely contributed to Sachin's phenomenal Staying Power!!

Posted by CricFan24 on (March 23, 2014, 8:20 GMT)

Till 2003 Tendulkar was infact well ahead of the pack. From 2003-07 ,due to several injuries to Tendulkar, the others caught up on generally ideal batting conditions. 1) For a decade, minus minnows, Tendulkar was completely dominant over the field. His level of dominance is bettered by only Bradman. 2) However, Tendulkar could not maintain the same level of dominance for two decades like the Don because of a host of near career threatening injuries from 2003-07.

What separates Bradman then is :

1) the ability to make it count when the going was in his favour and pile on runs. (Bradman had a very high number of ducks). 2) The ability to maintain his form over two decades - perhaps due to the lack of serious injuries. Or matches played when he was not so injured. 3) The ability to just "play the ball" as Martin suggests - and be an equal opportunity run-scorer regardless of the quality of the opposition.

Posted by CricFan24 on (March 23, 2014, 8:18 GMT)

Against the only worthy "common" opposition of the time (England) Bradman averaged 96 through the 1930s. Through the 1930s against the same common world level opposition Dempster avg. 88 and Headley avg.78. So much for "uncovered wickets" , no body protection etc etc. Through the 1940s Bradman avg. 85 against England. Morris 80. Barnes 77. Norse 72 etc. So - What do we have ? Bradman was clearly the best. However, others also did very well against the only standard common opposition. The difference was that : 1) Bradman maintained his standards over two decades, not one like the others. 2) Bradman scored against every and all opposition- regardless.

Through the 1990s Tendulkar avg. 59 against all countries (Except minnows Ban/Zim). The next best, for batsmen who batted right through the 1990s, was Steve Waugh with around 52.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2014, 2:59 GMT)

Think of the difference between m.waugh and s.waugh Same genes height reflexes eye sight yet m.waugh was a better strokemaker and s.waugh the better batsman

Posted by   on (March 22, 2014, 2:57 GMT)

Such profound insights into the mental aspects of batting,focus,etc could not be articulated any better than this piece , dripping with exacting analysis!Martin Crowe,by producing this piece , has highlighted once again that it requires as much an uncluttered head, without any baggage ,to excel in cricket Journalism ,like it is to Batting!:)These GEMS from his Stables ought to serve as an inspiration in all coaching academies of the world for budding,aspiring wards to introspect ,and zealously endeavour to perspire!

Posted by sunny_us on (March 21, 2014, 23:53 GMT)

Very Nice Article...Beautifully put together by MC. I personally think that to some extent Left Handers are more flamboyant and seems more prone to not being single minded for a longer period. I am sure there will be few who will argue against it and to some extent rightly so but I can suggest few examples like Vinod Kambli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Marcus Trescothick etc. I am not talking about one test or a test series the discussion is year after year. Brian Lara was truly a great batsman but was he consistent enough? If he was then there is no record which would not have been to his name may be except 99.96% average. In terms of comparison about who is better then other, which some comments are suggesting I always think that they are all different stars in the sky so enjoy watching them rather then comparing.

Posted by irishhawks on (March 21, 2014, 13:02 GMT)

In this World only mentally strong survive. When MC mentioned SRT i was reminded of his childhood friend and great flamboyant Vinod Kambli. Its sad he didn't pick anything from great man..Little success got over his head and soon he became history at very young age..I was also reminded of likes of Trescothick who suffered from home illness..SRT traveled around the world for 24 years, never showed any signs of mental disintegration..That in itself is great achievement..Main test of any sportsman,s mental strength is how he balances himself during success and failure..

Posted by bobbo2 on (March 21, 2014, 12:01 GMT)

Great read. I am a very average D Grade park cricketer but that feeling when you bat us magic. All other thoughts are gone and you are in the present without worrying about other aspects of your life. And for us of little talent it is very hard but concentration can make a big difference. Keep writing!

Posted by   on (March 21, 2014, 10:28 GMT)

Absolutely amazing article. Matin shows a clarity of thought that can only come after having gone through hell and back.

Posted by   on (March 21, 2014, 8:53 GMT)

Well. Pieterson played with planned front foot press always & was very successful. Sachin was always succeeful with front foot press.

Just never play of back foot & u will surely succeed

Posted by   on (March 21, 2014, 8:35 GMT)

Martin, to read your article is always a joy. This one was particularly incisive in the manner in which you have stated your feelings while batting and the analyses that you made about Sir Don and Sachin. But most of all, I enjoyed your points about reality. It is kind of a spiritual lesson. It terms of cricket this article has made me introspect about my own approach to batting.

Thanks a lot & Cheers!

Posted by mittalanuj on (March 21, 2014, 8:09 GMT)

A wonderful article..a rare and to the point analysis of batting greats from their mental conditioning perspective..the role their childhood, parents, surroundings had in their mental makeup..Martin Crowe has brought forward the importance of role that subconscious mind plays in all human beings whether a sportsman,artist,politician or in any field..He has put beautifully how these players become great..their greatness was not achieved only because they dominated on the field but the way these greats did not allow any outside factors to dominate them..that made them achieve what they had desired to be in their life...their mind was conditioned to do in a particular way..we have seen so many players faltering despite good starts in their career and if you analyse their early childhood experiences you will find the same pattern..In all respect a great insightful article..

Posted by Brahams on (March 21, 2014, 1:59 GMT)

MC is driving home another point - it needs a clear mind to write great columns! Looking forward to his next one.

On the subject of comparing batsmen from different eras, our conjectures would be always be based on incomplete information. But there are some great metrics that indicate Bradman and Sachin were truly outstanding.

Has anyone come close to Bradman's average? - No.

Has anyone come close to Sachin's 100 centuries? - No.

So in my mind these two are true legends and a cut above the next best.

Now who is better - B and S? On the basis of averages, I would go with Bradman.

Posted by   on (March 21, 2014, 1:23 GMT)

The mind is the key. Many players manage a century (well done... better than I could do) and get out almost immediately. Few have had the strength of mind to make a triple century, fewer still to do so twice (This is a amazing feat of self discipline that I can only dream of. To do it not once but to go there again, simply amazing!).

Posted by Puffin on (March 20, 2014, 22:57 GMT)

I think the thing to take from this is the similarities in sprit between these two great batsmen, it is obvious that great self-confidence is required to succeed like these two. However it is also apparent that modern cricket is rather like a constant psychological bodyline barrage, what with what is at stake in terms of money and also the amount of cricket played (perhaps air travel is not such a wonderful invention in this case). I just don't see it getting better and not everyone has the degree of single-mindedness and self-confidence, even arrogance, to deal with it.

Posted by Longmemory on (March 20, 2014, 21:52 GMT)

Martin Crowe's articles are really superb. They reveal a lot of thought, intelligence and introspection. I wish I could clear my mind and focus on the present in every thing I do - it sounds so simple and is yet so hard to achieve, and to sustain. Martin must obviously have succeeded far more often than most to have had the kind of career he did. Articles like this show the effort that went into that success.

Posted by DarthKetan on (March 20, 2014, 19:24 GMT)

Martin - quite interesting how you put that visualization technique in and itself has a shelf-life....trying to understand the takeaway here - how do you combine the philosophy of being in the moment/taking one ball at a time on merit vs. planning an inning for the match situation.....won't that be particularly difficult in shorter formats? Another point I'm worried to think about - what if you didn't have the sort of training to be in the moment in those teen years? Do you think it's hard to cultivate later? How do you inculcate that thinking later then? techniques? P.S.: Yes, the Sachin insertion into this seems unnecessary....

Posted by Sooraj4cricket on (March 20, 2014, 19:10 GMT)

Great article expressing not just about mindsets in cricket; but in life as a whole. A wonderful illumination on how one must learn to remain in the present moment, not trying to make things complex.Just trying to do the basics in the right place at the right time and the truth of the matter is that the results will automatically fall in place. To summarise, when the fear of failure is taken completely out of the picture from the mind, then success is inevitable...

Posted by regofpicton on (March 20, 2014, 18:09 GMT)

Thank you Martin Crowe. And thank you Moppa - this is about the best, not about who is best.

But there is one aspect of a "what if" of Bradman's performance emerging from the article that i have never seen considered before. Dare I suggest that it is easier to "stay in the moment" when you are facing 18 overs and hour, as Bradman usually did, than 13 overs an hour, as is common today when two quicks are operating? The problem for the batsman now is that the extra time available to the mind has to be filled in somehow, and inevitably some of packing is going to be negative distractions.

Posted by RWood on (March 20, 2014, 17:59 GMT)

"Averaging 99 against bangladeshi type attacks is no big deal.Don Badman would have averaged 30 or 40 if he had played bowlers like mcgrath,lee,warne,pollock,donald,styen,muralitharan,malinga,akram,waqar... "

The ignorance of some modern cricket fans is just laughable. Bradman dominated a bowler who was arguably the best ever of his category, perhaps of any category - O'Reilly.

Posted by mkamd on (March 20, 2014, 17:48 GMT)

Really good article. However main focus here is magic of being " focused". It is true for anything we do in life. I agree with Wherestheempire comments that it should be compulsory reading for any young batsman ( especially Umar Akmal who is wasting his talent) Aside from some Indian fan's useless remarks because the whole nation seems obcessed with GOAT ( Greatest of all time ) phenomena. I think what Bradman achieved is mind boggling. Sachin as a great crickter of his time has earned respect from all the great bowlers of his time. Does anyone think that he was too far ahead from the greats of Jack Kallis or Sangarkara or Border or Inzimam etc. I doubt it. Most of his records are due to the fact that he played longer than any of his contemporary cricketers. However, his ablity to convert 50s into 100s and his consistency over long period of time and his foot work brings him close to Bradman.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 16:23 GMT)

Averaging 99 against bangladeshi type attacks is no big deal.Don Badman would have averaged 30 or 40 if he had played bowlers like mcgrath,lee,warne,pollock,donald,styen,muralitharan,malinga,akram,waqar...

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 15:03 GMT)

Beautiful article!!! Has immense meaning not just for cricketers, but practically for any other sphere in life.

Posted by GrtIndia_Ann on (March 20, 2014, 14:57 GMT)

The idea of Sachin vs Don is quite useless...for all non asians, Don is great ..especially Austalians...for all Indians (exluding Sachin haters) Sachin is greatest...Does any one giving judgements about who is greatest really keep biasing thoughts aside?no...all of our thoughts are filled with biasing thoughts...so please post opinions here...dont give judgements

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (March 20, 2014, 10:43 GMT)

Simply put,greatest,-only 1 beyond comp.-batsman nonparaleil,Sir Don's unique-sets him apart from rest.Imagine what he would've done in modern era, where batsmen are pampered with flat tracks,upgraded gear,weak teams/attacks,medical care etc.Avg. 120+ ?!

Posted by Moppa on (March 20, 2014, 10:13 GMT)

Can we please not turn this thread into a Bradman vs Tendulkar thing??? All in all, a great read from Crowe - an insightful take on the truism of living in the moment, and, as others have observed, of relevance well beyond cricket. Finally, just a quick point on Crowe's comment on Bradman not facing health challenges - Bradman nearly died at the end of the 1934 tour of England due to peritonitis, yet came back as good as ever.

Posted by ScottStevo on (March 20, 2014, 10:09 GMT)

"It meant he never had the mental and physical burden of travelling and coping, especially with problems to do with health, in more foreign lands." this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever! Wasn't like they were flying first class in those days, hell, they weren't even flying. Coping with travel, you say; and illness on foreign soil? Laughable! Bradman's era had it much worse travelling anywhere compared to anything in modern times. Using travel stress as a means to bring Bradman's average down is a ridiculously poor argument; and as @redneck states, the standard of team Bradman would've encountered in these places would more likely have increased his average! I'm never really certain why there's an argument over who is the best. Of all time, most of the greats average in the 50s, yet Bradman almost doubles those at 100. There is no argument, the others are so far away, they're not even worthy comparisons...

Posted by warneneverchuck on (March 20, 2014, 9:47 GMT)

I think bradman would havr have been nothing more than average batsman had hebatted in all conditions playing against quality spin and pace and also different formats. So its unfair to compare him with today's batsman

Posted by WheresTheEmpire on (March 20, 2014, 9:24 GMT)

This article should be compulsory reading for any batsman and also has keys for success in many other activities. It seems as if both Bradman and Tendulkar had a natural passion for the simplicity of batting whereas most mortals need to work at it.

An excellent article and a strong argument to avoid over-coaching. In the words of Lao Tzu "anticipate the difficult by managing the easy".

Posted by tao585 on (March 20, 2014, 9:20 GMT)

Always pleasure to read articles by Martin.

Posted by warneneverchuck on (March 20, 2014, 7:31 GMT)

I think greats like sanga dilshan and mahela have better mental strength than any other batsman. They would have scored heavily in all condition had they played against great bowlers

Posted by PrasPunter on (March 20, 2014, 6:34 GMT)

Another master-piece by Martin Crowe. Loved the theme of mind-body coordination. Something I personally have been confronting with, off-late. Serves me right.

Posted by Insightful2013 on (March 20, 2014, 6:33 GMT)

Bradman sounds like a brilliant chap. More impressed with his refusal to join the pack. I think I understand him a lot better and why he succeeded. You sound insightful Martin, very good assessment. You may need to change professions. That's the sort of empathy all good people are made of. Think Bradman would have succeeded anywhere based on your description. He didn't need other people's praise or the need to belong. He was self contained and knew himself. Seems like a found man, unlike the majority of people. You sound like a found man yourself. My addition to your excellent observations and advice is to be extremely careful whom you surround yourself with. People are like books, some can spin a good yarn but it's fiction and some can be factual. I've found that actions tell the difference between fact and fiction, not words. Wonder what Sachin's family life was like, probably supportive. Anyway, glad you're in a good place now.

Posted by Jacobchikku on (March 20, 2014, 5:34 GMT)

Excelent won Martin, really helpful and I am sharing that with the My Team.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (March 20, 2014, 5:24 GMT)

Bradman would have averaged over 150 if he:

1. had used the high powered cricket bats of today 2. was able to wear helmet 3. played on covered pitches 4. played on smaller grounds 5. did not have to work in the off season to survive but could, instead, improve his skills 6. play also against weak teams not just the strong teams

Bradman would have scored over 30,000 test runs if he had the opportunity to play more test cricket like the players of recent times

He was the batting Einstein, the one true "great" batsman. Bradman was inhuman in his performances. The rest of the cricketers, apart from Sobers perhaps, are mere mortals fighting for recognition as the second best of all time

Posted by Gerry_the_Merry on (March 20, 2014, 5:24 GMT)

At least this time the picture is of Bradman. Poor guy was knocked out altogether by Tendulkar when it came to Martin Crowe's articles. They are very nice, but it is a bit tiring to always have to read about Tendulkar. There were other great batsmen, for god's sake.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 5:10 GMT)

I got to agree with this. On my engagement day to my love one. I went on to hit 5 sixes in an over for 8 times in 8 tapeball cricket matches. I used to hit 2 sixes in an over but on that day i was so happy that the ball was looked like a football and bat like cannon. Amazing perception.

Posted by Prabahar_Trichy on (March 20, 2014, 4:56 GMT)

Don't encircle this Article only to Cricket its applicable to any Profession/Life

Posted by Prabahar_Trichy on (March 20, 2014, 4:55 GMT)

I bookmarked this article for 'Motivational' thoughts...

Really this Article makes today as my day...

Posted by prashant1 on (March 20, 2014, 4:44 GMT)

Another fine article. Brings out the "inside story" of batting as it were...

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 4:22 GMT)

@redneck I think he was just refering to how modern day cricketers have to do it

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 4:00 GMT)

Excellent piece of article. I liked the way the this article is presented "to bat right, get your mind right"!!! Thanks Martin Crowe.

Posted by redneck on (March 20, 2014, 3:49 GMT)

whoes to say if bradmans avg would have dropped if he had toured india the west indies etc of his day? bare in mind apart from england most teams were relativly weak in those times, bradman could well have increased his avg if he had toured these places. certainly the maiden test between aus and nz, bradman would have beaten that nz team all by himself!

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