Cricket Psychology: England – A Team With No Mind!

Cricket PsychologistThe holy grail for any team or collective is to be of one mind. United in thought and deed. All working towards the same outcome. A team dynamic where everyone feels important and a key part of the group. Where the individual is given clear roles and responsibilities. And thus they know exactly how their contribution aids the collective success.

On the other hand you can have a team with two minds. Where divisiveness holds sway. Where cliques form, and there is a feeling of enemies within. Thus the factions within the team pull against each other. And this is a familiar scenario in teams, especially when weak leadership is at play.

Another team ‘dynamic’ that can hold sway, is a team with no mind! Whereby the team have become so disaffected that people simply no longer appear to care. Players perform as if sleep-walking to an inevitable defeat. For an example of this, see England’s ‘performance’ in the final game at Sydney, of their less than successful Ashes tour.

Jade Dernbach was put to the sword by George Bailey in the final over of the hosts innings, and Australia ended up setting England a target, that was way out of their reach. Dernbach struggled badly in the previous game at the MCG. He appeared to be bowling more with his emotions than with his mind.

Therefore, under-pressure from the supremely confident Bailey, why did none of England’s players come up to support the Surrey paceman, as he walked back to his mark. Encourage him. Talk to him. Take him out of his state of uncertainty. Help him think clearly?

Jade Dernbach was left to work things out for himself. In a united team, everyone is there for each other. Your problem becomes my problem. In a team with no mind, one players struggle is met with a shrug of the shoulders. The mindless state accepts mediocrity. The will to change things has died.

This mindless state doesn’t happen by accident. It builds over time, fulled by apathy, discontentment, inability to resolve problems, and other limiting factors. Players turn up to play. But they are not tuned into the game. It leads to rash, impulsive decision-making, triggered by a feeling that it doesn’t really matter anymore!

Ashley Giles is putting his name forward to take over from Andy Flower. He has just presided over a one day cricket mauling. The questions the ECB should ask him at interview are, ‘What were the factors, one by one, that led to this abysmal one day showing?’…’How did you try to address these issues?’ and ‘Why were you not successful at addressing them?’

If Giles is given the England Head Coach role, without being grilled on these matters relating to under-performance, then it will be the ECB who will be sleep-walking to future failures!

Posted in Cricket Psychology, Sports Psychology Blog.