The Sports Psychology Blog
Today's Sports Psychology blog comes in advance of the two test series between Australia and Sri Lanka.
Cricket: Murali - A Clear & Powerful Focus
So Murali Muralitharan returns to Australia. This after he opted out of the last Sri Lankan tour down-under, because of the snipping and abuse directed at him by Australian supporters on a previous visit. Abusing him because of perceived doubts about Murali's action.
So will it be any different this time around? Knowing that Murali has a sensitivity to their criticism, you would expect spectators to try to press the spinners buttons. See if he reacts. Get into his head. Get him thinking about them, not his bowling.
They can try. But my guess is that Murali will be prepared. Prepared and dangerous. There is nothing better for a top sports professional, than a clear and obvious enemy to turn your attention to. To prove wrong. To rub every last insult back into their faces. Not vengefully. But through your art and skill. All channelled into a powerful focus.
Where you have trained your mind so well, that whenever you hear an insult, it connects you to the strength of feeling you have about your craft. Every barb enables you to draw on and link to any of the seven hundred wickets that you have taken throughout your career. How you have bamboozled batsman. Got into their minds. Your mind programmed so deftly, that everything leads to the state of mind of excellence, calmness and trust. They can say whatever they want about you. But you are ready. And mentally prepared.
This will be Murali's last tour of Australia. If they have any sense, the Australian public will show him maximum respect. After all, they don't want to irk him so much that, out of sheer defiance, he takes his bowling to unplayable levels. But maybe, he plans to do that anyway.