Tag Archives: Jonathan Trott

Johnson – Good Sport

Johnson Good Sport

The Squire and Third Man have seen all the great ‘quicks’ produced by the game of cricket, from David Harris to … to Johnson. And their opinion? Johnson entertained them more than any other. And frightened them in equal measure.

This is a man who could bowl a short pitched ball which, depending on the random orientation of the seam, could lift off like Saturn spinning through space and still be rising as it flew over the keeper’s head thirty yards back, or stay, as if at his command, lower than the rolls of the batsman’s pads, OR heights anywhere between these extremes discombobulating the batsman.

And, depending on the point of release, he could fire the ball two yards outside off stump or two yards outside leg and any direction between those extremes … and he would frequently do so within a single spell.

His physique and deportment were those of the Olympic athlete. His approach when full out delivered him to the crease like a piston driven engine, and then there was that ‘curvy flick’ of a drag from the trailing leg that appropriately each ball wrote a question mark in the air an inch above the bowling crease.

His presence was both unsettling and somehow hilarious.

Throughout his triumphs and disasters he was both ‘good sport’ and ‘a good sport’. People laughed at him but only when he was down. They did so like children prodding a dead snake and running in panic and hysteria when it appeared to strike back.

In 2013 Lehmann rescued him from the wilderness of confusion and gave him back to lovers of fast bowling.

His destruction of Jonathan Trott that summer and winter must qualify as one of cricket’s great tragedies and rank alongside anything staged by the ancient Greeks. Here, before our eyes, was what CLR James had known.

And the puzzle and the delight?

Johnson, this incarnation of Nemesis, this deliverer of retribution, approached his victim in the form of a cartoon character. How modern is that?!

 

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Star Burst Log:22 11 13 – Test 1: Day 2

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News Today: NASA scientists have detected a cosmic explosion and accompanying gamma-ray burst believed to be the brightest ever seen.

The explosion lasted for less than a session, but hurled radiation across the known cosmos.

Astronomer Professor Calculus said: “These events can happen in any galaxy at any time. We have no way to predict them.”

“The stars were previously living quite happily, fusing material in their core, knocking the ball around for ones and twos. And then ran out of fuel.”

“The core or middle order then collapsed into a black hole, while liberating a powerful jet of energy – the gamma-ray burst.”

“The resulting blast wave caused the rest of the stars to expand outwards, creating another dazzling event called a supernova.”

“We shall see the decaying light – the remnants of both events – for weeks or months afterwards,” said Prof Calculus.

The Squire has had his telescope trained on the event and can bring readers exclusive data including images (see below).

Up all night gazing into the heavens, His Grace marvelled, “The light may have taken 4 billion years to reach us, but it’s here and we have to deal with it.”

Even at 1 – 45 [in itself a truly cosmic coincidence of time and (England) score] the Squire postulated, “Are we seeing a struggle for 4th and 5th places in the NASA Fermi Ratings?”

The radiation burst is thought to have turned hype into substance. 

“It is the wonder of alchemy,” concluded His Grace.

Images follow:

The Brisbane Super Nova

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Chart of England Collapse (82 – 2 start of over 31 as zero)

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Brain Scan Jonathan Trott

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Snapchat Whiteboard England Meeting Room ‘Just Before Midnight’

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GM proposal for overnight dispatch of new BAT for Joe Root

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More Unrequested “Watch the Ball” Advice from Old England

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And finally, Of What Dreams Are Made

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Seeing the Wood for the Trees – Trott, Ponting and Cricket Australia D2 T4

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.

A Trott in the Present

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.

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Tamin Iqbal, “I work harder”

“Shame About Today. Just got back in and couldn’t understand why nothing on the radio!”  a friend emailed to Third Man yesterday afternoon.

TM finds it difficult to be critical of any cricketer at any level.  You pad up, pick up your bat, cross a line that marks the boundary between not knowing and knowing about yourself, walk towards a gang of hostile people and place your vulnerable personality in the firing line, or you stand at the end of your run having just been hit for a massive six and have to decide whether the next ball should seek to contain or to attack … so he’ll leave the criticizing  to Tamin Iqbal who in the two Test Matches scored 268 runs at almost a run a ball with an average of 67 and who, when asked why he was more effective than his team-mates, answered, “I work harder”.

In fact and to be more accurate Tamin Iqbal ‘thinks harder’.  

Those able to watch Bangladesh practice from their arrival at Old Trafford on Wednesday morning to the time they left the indoor nets in the rain of yesterday morning would have been struck by the fact that Tamin Iqbal hardly played a practice ball in all that time.

“He walked about playing air-shots and doing a lot of thinking,” one net bowler told Third Man.

For the rest it was a bit like a Tuesday evening practice night for a not very well organised club side.

Yet the visitors had come from Lord’s on a real high.  At the ‘Home of Cricket’ a number had put in fine performances, even when not statistically Personal Bests, in the cauldron of emotions that must define a Lord’s Test, they had been psychologically Personal Highs.

Shahadat Hossain had taken 5 for 98 which, given that his side scored 660 runs in two innings, was the equivalent of scoring a 150.  Imrul Kayes had scored 43 and 75.  Junaid Siddique had scored 58 and 74.   In the second innings Siddique had been 66 not out at the close of play and had known the excitement and nervous tension of a never to be forgotten sleepless night in which a chance of a Lord’s century on the morrow kept much needed sleep at bay.  Arriving at Old Trafford he was still buzzing with excitement and expectation.

Yet, on the first day of practice, Bangladesh spent just 30 minutes in the nets which looked and ‘played’ very similarly to the actual Test wicket just 100 yards away.  When they did practice there was much chatter, much swishing of the bat and much mixing up of deliveries with no effort to create match situations and (with the notable exception of Tamin Iqbal) to reflect on the consequences of that practice.

Practice and think, practice and think has been the mantra of good cricketers over the years.  If you see an old pro sitting quietly by himself after a net you know not to disturb him.  He is thinking.  He is completing the practice.

There is criticism of Jonathan Trott’s rituals in the middle and of his staying on the field at Lord’s after the rest have left, marking his guard.  But this mental process of envisioning, reflecting and feeling is an ingredient of extracting every iota of one’s potential in a physical activity.  Trott behaves the same way in the nets.  Marking his guard and stopping for long periods to look away and think and ‘see’ and feel.

Not surprisingly, because practice makes permanent, this unthought through way was how Bangladesh played in the middle.

Cricket is a team game and, as such, individual performances however brilliant occur from within that culture.  Most performances are sustained by whatever culture exists.   Although individual genius may be a reaction to that culture, it can never be independent of it.  

Teams that have coaches and managers employ them to help create, reform and maintain the best possible culture.  It may be hard work and require care, intelligence and perhaps kidology, but if coaches and managers can’t help their players think their way to good performances they should make way for some who can.

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