The Great Cricket Players
The great cricket players are those who define the game in their generation, players like Mahendra Singh Dhoni: they are proven winners in all aspects of their game. They are the 'Stars' of Cricket, we love them and we hate them.
In the Mental Game they are the Winners.
They know how to perform under pressure, they have varied and flexible game strategies, they have worked out what to focus on and how to retain it, both on and off the pitch.
Their ability to adapt their game and be successful all around the world, on all types of playing surface, separates them from the pretenders.
Masters of Cricket Technique
The development of Cricket Technique does not necessarily follow a logical path - many of the great cricketers have developed their game unhindered by too much advice and thankfully, not over coached.
Their genius has shaped the way they learnt to play the game, there are basics that may be similar among all great cricketers, but there is also an expression of their personality in their play.
Look at the contrasting genius of Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar, one the instinctive fighter, the other the master surgeon, precise in all that he does.
Strength and Conditioning
To be a great cricketer needs a genetic gift: not only do these cricket players have exceptional cricket minds, they have the gift of physical hardiness.
Their genetic gift will only take them so far, though. Strength and conditioning have become critical aspects for players in maintaining high levels of performance over a long period of time.
Players like Dale Steyn have to plan and monitor their conditioning to peak and recover at the right times in the year.
The volume of cricket played now that 20 20 Cricket has emerged has increased players' workloads. Great players need to know how to think 'smart' about their game and make sure they cover their bases as far as cricket fitness goes.
The Cricket Players' Story
Each of the great cricketers has a story. There is sacrifice to get to the top of their field, and, although the material rewards for those at the pinnacle of the game are better than for any previous generation, cricketers are not removed from the everyday hardship and tragedy of life.
Think of Glen McGrath's loss of his wife and Pakistani opening bat Saeed Anwar losing his young daughter.
Each cricket player has their own story: what lessons can cricket and these great cricketers teach us about fortitude, perseverance, humility and facing life with a positive mental attitude?
AB de Villiers
Mahendra Singh Dhoni
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