Quite often, in that odd state between consciousness and sleep, I jolt myself awake ducking a ball coming quickly at my head. Ever since I was a kid my anxiety dream has always been the same. I'm in a dressing room trying to get padded up and however many times I buckle them (old days) or velcro them (now) they're never on properly, and I feel the time passing by. Sometimes the pads are okay but I open my bag and find I haven't put any boots in, or shirts, or something. I've had hundreds of variations of the same dream.
Other times, it's better; I'm in a net and hitting the ball really well*, or, rarely, in a match and hitting it even better. I've never bothered to work out whether the good dreams tie in with good times in waking life, but I suspect that they do.
Cricket, and especially batting, seem like natural arenas for anxiety. There must be a connection between the subconscious outlet of dreaming and the many and strange rituals and superstitions that drag down so many batsmen. For every Denis Compton, who could apparently pick up any bat in the dressing room and saunter off and stroke a hundred with it, I suspect there are far more Graham Thorpes, obsessing about the state and weight and feel of their bat, or Vinod Kamblis, who end up with 14 grips on the handle. Their dream lives really must be hell...
* No, these don't involve MP Vaughan, although I hear he's hitting them really well in the nets as we speak.
NB: I'm posting this in the absence of TV coverage of the KFC Big Bash All Oz Vics v NSW T20 Final Showdown or whatever it's called - which I'd like to have seen - but read Jrod and Moses for the visceral, I've-looked-at-life-from-both-sides-now experience. Boys, it felt like I was there (or not, as the case may be).