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Cricket, the game of failure (and comebacks)

Updated: Apr 12

In a social media world full of supposed hacks, cheats and short cuts... We're going to give the harsh real life reality! You're going to fail this season, a lot!

It's a topic we've been chatting about a lot over the busy winter here at The Cricket Asylum, both in our coaching sessions and on coffee breaks- just how tough is cricket, and do the statistics reflect how hard it is? All sports are tough, but it just seems like cricket is built around failing... but, more importantly its about the comebacks from these failures! During the 2023 summer while hosting a touring squad from Australia, we had a Q&A session with Aussie professionals Bryce Street and Henry Hunt, along with West Indian legend Joel Garner! It was great couple of hours, and Bryce came out with an interesting answer to a question we can't recall... "Cricket is hard, you'll have more bad days than good. You've just gotta keep going and make the most of it when things are going well"

You have more bad days than good, it made us think...

How many test matches do teams spend getting beat for 2 or 3 days, and the media calling for an overhaul of the whole game and everything within it, but then come back to win or draw the match! We can all look at the professional game for inspiration! Botham's Ashes in 1981, Ben Stokes (and Jack Leach) heroic comeback in the 2019 Headingley Ashes test, but what about at your local club!? Who has inspired you with a local cricket comeback?

Anyone that's played a bit of cricket, at any level, has gone through a spell where they can't get a wicket, can't buy a run and everyone else is to blame. The walk back to the pavilion for that 5th consecutive single figure score is a long one!! It may even be preceded by a little tantrum, yes this is the game that sees grown adults throwing their expensive cricket gear round a room like a crazed toddler, "that's it, I'm done, I can't do it anymore" - yeah, we'll see you next week mate.....

We see aspiring young players attending trial after trial, sometimes receiving knock back after knock back. While this can seem like it destroys confidence and we want to protect our children from it, it actually builds resilience so we should be supporting them through this process and helping them with the big comeback!

Check out the stats graph below, some of the greatest players ever to grace our game fail more than they succeed. All four players score less than 50 more times than above 50, and they score single figures around 25% of the time, which is nearly twice as many times as they score over 100!

Remember, these are some of the best players ever! For the bowlers out there, the worlds greatest ever pace/swing bowler, Jimmy Anderson, took zero wickets more times than he took 4 or more wickets in an innings.

All these statistics are based on test match cricket, and we thank TCA stats guru Sam Staley for digging into the data!

The message here is simple, YOU ARE GOING TO FAIL! Your best season ever will likely include several single figure scores... The question is how quickly can you come back from these inevitable failures?

Of course you can read stats in different ways, but they really do provide an interesting insight to this debate! Statistics also unearth anomalies, individuals who are an exception to the rule, they can tell you who the real sporting geniuses are- the late, great Shane Warne took 4 or more wickets more than twice as many times as he took zero wickets in Test Match innings! A statistic that flies in the face of everything we're trying to say, and what a player to show us up...

So let's not sit back and just accept failure, let's learn from it, fight for the comeback, get in the nets and work your way back into that rep squad or score the elusive ton, comeback as a team from a poor previous season.

Thanks for reading, we hope you enjoyed or its got you thinking... Drop into the comments, let us know what you think or tell us about a local cricketing comeback!

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