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A Losing Mentality

Now today, I want to talk to you about cricket, a strange game, a bit like baseball, that goes on for days and often ends in a tie. It's not easy but I have to talk to someone.

You see England has just been beaten again. You might have thought that by now we would be used to that experience. We get beaten at soccer and athletics and tennis all the time. But cricket is OUR game.

We sold the idea to our colonies in India and Australia and the West Indies so that we had someone we could beat. Australia in particular was very useful. We shipped boatloads of criminals there, but unfortunately they all turned to cricket, and all OUR young people turned to crime.

So this week, the Australians took huge delight in grinding us into the dust. It was all so different just over a year ago at a cricket match in London when the unthinkable happened. We beat the Australians and won the series. I was there on the last day and like the rest of the nation I was euphoric. We dared to dream that when we returned to Australia we would win again.

So we crawled from our beds in the early hours of the morning to watch live proceedings on the television. And then reality set in. They beat us once, and then in the second match, we fell apart in one terrible hour, lost our heads and went down to another defeat.

Now we are playing the blame game. Our cricketers have played too much, or too little. They took too many risks, or not enough. We picked the wrong players, or the wrong coach. On and on it goes.

But the real problem is more simple. Our cricketers did not expect to win. And self belief is more important than all the training and technique and ability. Sportsmen who want to win have to believe they can do it. It was clear that too many of our players had lost that belief. It can happen to the best.

I think at the moment your golfers have lost the belief they can beat the Europeans. The statistics say you have the best players. Their heads tell them something different. I can offer only a couple of consoling thoughts. One is that is those who lose most of the time understand how sweet victory is.

And there is another consolation for us over here. It's just as well we lost that big fight in America a couple of hundred years ago, or else cricket would have been YOUR national game instead of baseball. And then we would have lost to YOU too.

by Peter Allen