Saturday 30 May 2009

Half mental

When we last left Matthew Hayden [as opposed to Matthew Hayden's bat], he was finished, done, a once-sleek great white laying gutted on the beach. 

It's amazing what a break can do. There he was in the IPL, proudly wearing the orange cap over hair he'd razored back to the bone. He was all business. 

The role of ego in batting is misunderstood: ego is a defence mechanism. Hayden's was breached by the end of his Test career, his decline was mental as much as physical. The basic function of batting, unimprovably distilled to 'see ball, hit ball' by Virender Sehwag, was still intact, as the IPL let him show

There's your answer as to the real demands of Test match cricket. Haydos was a bit like a boxer whose chin went before his punch.

Michael Vaughan has had a break too, but he has not come back like Hayden. He's almost slipped from the radar now. He's playing T20 too, but for Yorkshire, and not very well. His desire must be draining away, and the thought that his decline was caused by mental fatigue is going with it. There must a physical element to it, too, something he can't quite recapture. Once that's gone, it's gone forever.


Rob said...

It is certainly looking that way for Vaughan. He looked at all see againt du Plessis yesterday.

The Old Batsman said...

He struggled again today - 17 at a S/R of 77.something... Maybe he'll knock it on the head at the end of this year?

Ceci said...

Should think Ol' Vaughany's canvases will be more minimalist than expressionist now

The Old Batsman said...

Surely you can feel some art of your own coming on, Ceci? Title: 'Twenty20 innings with a strike rate of 77.00' perhaps?!