I read Martin Crowe is struggling with cancer relapse. Barely had he overcome lymphoma cancer, he now has a rebound to battle. I'd hate to think that the former New Zealand captain is in a financial crunch as there is news that he is in a distress sale of one of his properties.
After speaking to Yuvi and reading and listening to his cancer struggles, I shudder to think what Crowe and his family would be going through.
Amidst all this, Crowe has produced a masterpiece for the cricket website, cricinfo.com. It is titled 'Minding the Gap'. It talks about how to channelise one's mind between two balls, two deliveries.
Crowe writes with the authority of having scored 21 international hundreds. "The gap between balls, that 30-second time span between when the last ball became dead and the next ball becomes live, is arguably the most important period in a batsman's innings."
It is so true. On good days, the mind ensures that a play-and-miss event in a high-pressure game is ignored like those promotional messages that gatecrash our phone inboxes every hour.
On bad days, the same play and miss becomes an absolute disaster. Crowe writes, "The mind needs constant clearing out of past and future concerns in order to function effectively… This is when cricket is played best."
Unfortunately, the mind doesn't have a refresh button and what Crowe is talking about is tough to master. He himself admits that it took him three years of international cricket to understand the gap between two deliveries. I'm not even close to conquering this method.
Personally, I had the honour of playing some crucial knocks in the finals for my country, more notably the 2011 World Cup final in Mumbai. I didn't know anything about 'Crowisms' at that time but I was still trying to switch off between overs and deliveries. Now when I think about those 97 runs against Sri Lanka I can say that I was trying to stay in the present and not rush too much into the future.
This theory is not true only for batsmen but for bowlers too.
These days the way bowlers are manhandled, besides the obvious bowling skills, two characteristics are an absolute necessity - a big heart and small memory. I think our KKR dressing room has plenty of this. Although we lost the battle to a superior batting show by Suresh Raina in the CLT20 final, I was delighted to see the effort by our bowlers.
The standout moment was seeing Kuldeep Yadav adamantly flight the ball even after Raina had his number. It is still a long way to go for Kuldeep, but I hope he doesn't change when he gets into international cricket. I have a plan for him, though. I am taking a print of Crowe's article, getting it laminated and will hand it over to Kuldeep.