In sport, winning is a habit. And so is losing. Players can take the field, somehow expecting things to go wrong. A mood envelopes the group, whereby no one is prepared to take responsibility for team outcomes.
That mood can create a defeatist atmosphere. Past defeats hang heavy in the air. Doubts and uncertainty hold sway. Players talk bullishly about taking the postives or working hard, but it makes no difference.
Jade Dernbach’s bowling is a good example of how things can go wrong. His three overs in this game cost him forty two runs. He exercised no control over the batters. Dernbach has a special talent. He can deliver a range of slower balls, that on his day, can bamboozle good players.
But Jade Dernbach needs the right environment to bowl well. He needs to feel comfortable. At home. Amongst friends. The dressing room at Surrey pre the loss of his friend Tom Maynard is a good example. He knew his role. Was comfortable in the group. And was on top of his skills.
If he doesn’t feel right, or isn’t getting the right vibes from management, then his bowling will look ragged and ill-disciplined. So when management are inexperienced, or under-pressure to get results, they can forget the important people skills, that cause talented players to feel understood. And when talented players don’t feel understood, they end up trying to hard to impress management.
So when a player like Jade Dernbach tries too hard, his special skills become ordinary! His discipline goes as does his focus and emotional control.
All of this is symptomatic of what happens in a losing team. Pressure to get results, leads to tensions and anxiety. Not just amongst the players, but the management. They in turn over-stress plans and strategies to players, who end up thinking too much, and not playing by instinct.
It’s all solveable. But in the middle of a losing tour, clear-thinking can be in short supply!