It’s tricky motivating people. Trust us on this, we’re pretty clued up on the psychopathology of apathy.
Earlier in the year, Graeme Smith subtly dissed Dale Steyn because he didn’t think he was pulling his weight, even though Steyn was only just returning from injury. Smith didn’t care about that. ‘You play for South Africa, you have to perform’ was the message.
Andy Flower’s currently attempting to do the same thing with the England side. Jonathan Trott and Joe Denly have been told that their opening has been bobbins and Matt Prior can’t take a crap without Flower saying Craig Kieswetter did a bigger one.
England would like the Comfort Zone to be some sort of room full of bean bags and pyjamas rather than a state of mind for their first team, but this kind of mental prodding is tricky to pull off. You want your international cricketers resilient, but in reality they’re just as likely as anyone else to spend full weekends sleeping or to look upon a rain shower as being an invitation to covertly weep.
Flower is inviting mental fragility from England batsmen. That’s like misquoting Star Wars in a room full of computer programmers.