Tag: Trevor Bayliss

Was Jason Roy’s the greatest World Cup hundred celebration?

Jason Roy celebrates his hundred (via ICC video)

2019 Cricket World Cup, Game 12, Bangladesh v England

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England are too passionate

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Can we be the first to accuse them of that? People reflexively go the other way, accusing losing teams of lacking commitment, determination or heart, but it’s almost always the exact opposite.

As we’ve written before, passion is not a cure-all. Passion drives you to things like losing all perspective, obsessing, never resting and eventually having a mental breakdown.

According to Alastair Cook this week: “Trevor Bayliss is cancelling practice sessions after three and a half/four hours. He’s saying: ‘You’ve go to stop now; you’re wasting energy; you’ve got to save it for the Test.’”

Trevor Bayliss is probably right, but for a certain sort of person (players, coaches and fans) the answer is always more work.

Part of the problem is that there always has to be an avoidable reason for defeat. To not be as good as the opposition in their home conditions is simply not acceptable. Defeats must be the consequence of some major character flaw, like laziness.

However, players fail for different reasons and at any given time more work is just as likely to compound a problem as resolve it.

Players like Cook and Kevin Pietersen are methodical and like to address specific problems with specific drills. Cook himself describes the secret of his success thus: “I try my bollocks off really; it’s as simple as that.”

In contrast, someone like David Gower took a broader, more rhythmic view of batting. His view was that he should spend more time in the nets when he was already in form as this would help him groove good movements and timing. Conversely, he saw practice when out of form as being counterproductive as it would come to make poor habits second nature.

Jonathan Trott is the classic case against ‘practice makes perfect’. Trott essentially lost the ability to switch off. His response to failure was to work himself harder and harder – even though all he was really succeeding in doing was eroding his capacity to work hard.

Some of this England squad will benefit from doing a little more work. A lot of them won’t, but hopefully none of them are guilty of the biggest crime of all.

There is a temptation, in a losing team, to do not what’s best for you, but what’s perceived to be good by others – essentially a reputational damage limitation exercise having already accepted defeat.

It’s unlikely anyone’s going down that road – not least because one person who’d be decidedly unimpressed with the effort is the coach.

Trevor Bayliss on batting positivity and batting clarity

Ben Stokes batting

You should have hit it harder. Or less hard. Or not at all. Whatever you did with the delivery that resulted in your dismissal, you should have done something else.

The latest comments from Trevor Bayliss give a bit of an insight into how the England’s coach sees the game. He’s been characterised as an advocate of ‘taking the positive option’ and by extension, someone who will always preach aggressive batting. However, that would appear to be a 2D caricature as we can easily perceive three-dimensionality from his words.

When a number of England batsmen were dismissed playing attacking shots in the third Test, plenty of people concluded that they should have been more cautious. This is the difference between a coach and someone who takes potshots after watching the highlights. The former is obliged to consider the context.

Bayliss said:

“If you look at the batters who scored runs in the first three innings of the Test series, they were proactive, trying to be positive, which means they will defend well. When the opportunity comes we leave and defend well but when opportunity comes along to attack we take them.

“In the last three innings we have changed that mindset so it is more along the lines of survival. And when some of our naturally more positive players try to play that way they were in two minds.

“I thought in the last innings of the last Test we gifted them some wickets when I thought we looked to be in two minds. We looked like we were trying to go over the top once or twice but did not really go through with it which meant we were in two minds over whether it was right approach or not.”

Captain Hindsight would be happy to conclude that a batsman who plops one to an outfielder should have played a different shot. That’s an obvious remedy, but Bayliss is effectively arguing that the batsman may just have played that shot badly due to lack of clarity and conviction.

Which is the bigger threat to a batsman? Erring on the side of positivity when weighing run-scoring against defence – or indecisiveness? Bayliss appears to think the latter.

In the last Test, Moeen Ali played over the top half-heartedly (which is no way to go about it), while Ben Stokes ran down the pitch after scoring three runs off 31 deliveries from Ravindra Jadeja. There was an element of neither-one-thing-nor-the-other about both dismissals.

It’s misrepresentation to say that Bayliss believes that batting aggressively is a cure-all. Instead, he seems to recognise that players approach the game in different ways and the thinking that works for Alastair Cook, for example, might actually compromise the returns of others further down the order.

He knows that encouraging players to play freely won’t result in perfection. What he’s hoping for is a net gain (if you’ll excuse the pun). He believes that some of his batsmen are caught between two approaches and he thinks we will see fewer errors if he can shunt them away from a mental no-man’s land.

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