Yesterday Third Man maintained that England cricketers were dominant even after their set backs at Perth because their minds were stronger than those of the Australians.
Today, the mind of the captain of Australia fractured into smithereens before the eyes of the cricketing world, its pieces splintering into a thousand fragments each shard available to be used against him. Cricket is cruel – just how cruel Ponting is about to discover.
Defeat no longer takes place solely on the field, if indeed it ever did. Today defeat takes place in the virtual field that connects us all. The Punter’s rant (because it was a decisive gamble and one too many) against the umpires was a declaration not of strength but of impotence.
His thinking, confused and racing under the pressures that accelerate time, locked onto and magnified the importance of the unimportant – the cardinal error in decision making.
Institutions also think, so, shortly afterwards the feeble mind of Cricket Australia, in the person of their Chief Executive, was on show in all its mental confusion as it elevated the importance of unity and ignored the importance of a total apology for its captain’s error of judgement.
Cricket needed immediate contrition and a promise that Cricket Australia would take action independently of the match officials as well as accepting any decision that they might make. Instead cricket got the wrong kind of spin.
Meanwhile Jonathan Trott was giving everyone a lesson in excluding the unimportant from consideration. For five and half hours or more he gave that which might only distract his concentration on the ‘now’ no head space whatsoever.
With training, thought and practice he has construct a technique founded on the firmest of bases, mentally and actually. From this solid base he performs each element that makes up a precisely timed shot.
After each shot he takes a mental rest. Who knows he may even tell himself a joke. Sometimes he dallies with the past by looking up to the replay screen. Perhaps he mentally pinches himself and asks, “Am I really here?”
But this kind of excursion from the crease is brought to an end when he decides – yes, when he decides that it is time to get back to the importance of the present. The path of the excursion he takes is trodden by a series of well defined and ritual actions that lead him unvaryingly back to ‘now’.
By this route to the present he wins for himself freedom from both the past and the future. It is the liberty to play correctly from his carefully chosen and practiced palette of strokes. So what if these tend by a ratio of 2:1 to favour the leg side. He is not out 141.
It is a joy to watch and a lesson in stripping out the unimportant – in seeing the wood for the trees.