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  #1  
Old April 21, 2010, 01:31 AM
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Zeeshan Zeeshan is offline
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Default In the zone...

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I remember I was in that zone. I was batting with Laxman and I didn't utter a word. I never wanted to come out of that zone. I was so much into that concentration. It was so high when Sachin got out on the fifth day and when Laxman batted with me, for one and a half hours I didn't say anything. He said, "Why aren't you speaking?" I said, "I am in that zone, I am fully concentrating on the ball. I don't want to come out."
Gautam Gambhir on his 643 minute marathon to score just 137 runs with a "monk-like discipline" Cricinfo


WE have all heard the phrase playing or staying "in the zone" especially in sports jargon. It goes by other names as well such as flow as coined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi which is synomous with "heightened state of awareness" or "mindfulness." But what exactly does this stock phrase mean which has culminiated in sort of a cliche of modern parlance?

Akash Chopra attempts to describe it when writing on Sachin Tendulkar's epic 200 innings:
"The zone is like a state of nirvana: a certain stillness within, when everything flows naturally and things around you don't interrupt your inner harmony. You move at your own pace. The results are a by-product of that. Most players manage to reach this state from time to time but it rarely lasts for the duration of an innings. Some achieve it for a few minutes, others for an hour or so. Then you lose concentration and are lured into doing silly things."
It also makes sense why such openers as Tami Iqbal or Brendon McCullum exploits their situation as opening batsman and make the best of it by playing an innings unhindered of negative thought which enables to enter this mental state. Needless to mention, as any devout Bangladeshi fan has experienced, Bangladeshi seems to do better when they open their series account such as the one in New Zealand 2010 where Tamim was on a high note before the familiar collapse started. Immeditaely in the following one-day match, Bangladesh got right back in the game as Ashraful had the opposing batsman run out followed soon by another wicket. Further examples of Bangladesh riding high on the wave of peak performance abound specifically the famous match against India where the team etched their first win with their tabula rasa of the mental state that was unhindered with any performance pressure whatsoever.

So the morale of the story is clear. Give the national team a reasonable amount of time off and they come off performing on gusto before the all too familiar collapse occurs as their enthusiasm gets deflated like a puncture balloon. Two points immediate points offsoots from here: i) If this hypothesis is true, how does the team create a backup strategy so as not to 'panic' when the first blood is drawn; ii) Should this team always make an orthodox decision to bowl if the pitch conditions looks favorable for it taking into factor that Bangladesh does not have as much as an armada of bowling machines as it does so with their strong opening batting combination?

Surprisingly a player like Virendar Sehwag, who one would expect to enter this mental statehood, denies of ever entering the zone. As he told Cricinfo in last year September:
"I have asked Tendulkar many times what the zone is. He tells me that's when 'I see nothing except the ball'. I have asked Rahul Dravid the same thing. He says sometimes when he is in really good form, he sees the ball and not even the sightscreen, the non-striker, the umpire or who is bowling. I ask how that is possible. But I have never entered that zone even if I've scored triple-centuries twice. Maybe I will enter that zone they talk about in future. "
Does he always stay in the zone? Again in his own words:
"...the definition of zone is different for me. They have both experienced what I have never experienced. Right from the time I was growing up there would be people moving along the sightscreen, but I would never get distracted. But if somebody shouts and says there is someone near the sightscreen then I will stop and move the guy."

So what is the zone? Do you BC-ites believe in it? Or you don't? What psychological factors contribute to the inadvertent lack of entering this state? How come Ashraful who would always seem to be on song lost his grip on gaining this mystic state of being? More importantly how exactly does one gain access to this heavenly state of rapture and maintain this on a consistent basis? Which innings would you cite as examples of our players gaining momentum and being in zone? Discuss away!
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Last edited by Zeeshan; April 21, 2010 at 01:41 AM..
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  #2  
Old April 21, 2010, 01:52 AM
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Imteaz Imteaz is offline
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If we consider the grammar of batting that this zone is important. For example, if someone is batting with a momentum that he may lose his concentration if for any reason he has to change his momentum. So team (Captain, Coach and Colleagues) should not interrupt that batter to change his momentum.

Now, in case of Bangladesh national team there are some problems.

Let me try to clarify it. India, Australia or any other teams (Test Teams) have got a deep batting line up consist of some proved batter. Like When Shewag is in 80 of 50 balls, if India lose quick 2/3 wickets than psychologically Shewag can remain with his momentum thinking that they have Tendulkar, Dravid, Dhoni or Laxman after him. Same goes to Smith for SA or Watson for Aus. So they do not have to worried about continuing their momentum.

In case of Tamim, we all know our batting lineup has not yet got that depth. We cannot depend on Rakibul, Ashraful, Shakib or Mahamudullah on that extend what Shewag, Smith or Watson can. So, when we lose 2/3 quick wickets a panic always is created among the players, even we the supporters also got tensed. Being an oppener when he is on the crease with 60 of 45 balls if Bangladesh lose 2/3 quick wickets we all get dependent on Tamim fully. It is really almost impossible for Tamim to continue with his momentum on that situation.

My clarification is almost like Zeshan brother but I also think we need some more time to allow Tamim stay with his ZONE in any situation. We should not blame any of our batter if he distort from his zone according to situation. We yet to have that standard to keep within the zone always.

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  #3  
Old April 21, 2010, 02:14 AM
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The white line fever, as McGrath used to suffer from it.
The moment you enter the fields, crossing the white boundary line, you are a different person.
You put your cape on, put on your mask and tighten the undies over the pant and is in a complete different state of mind.

Shehwag would never be in the zone. He is a brainless idiot. God gifted natural stroke maker and a superb hand eye coordination he may have, but he is still a brainless idiot. Someone like him can never fathom the deepness of being in the zone the way Sachin can.
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Old April 21, 2010, 04:20 AM
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the zone for Bangladesh batsman

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when i am in the zone i cant see the cricket ball, or if the ball swings in i see it swing away, if the bowlers id bowling a flighted delivery i see it is a flat delivery, if he bowls a slower i feel its a bouncer, if i try to defend my muscles and nerves betray and i go for a big shot, if i try to punish a bad ball i defend it, when there is no run my legs say run run run,
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  #5  
Old April 21, 2010, 05:42 AM
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This is solely from my personal experience:
I believe there is a *zone*, its when you are the peak[or at the peak] of your form.[If your form is the peak of the season, your *zone* is the peak of your form] I have had these zones while bowling, batting and also fielding. Generally I am a horrible fielder, but some days you just see the ball better and you somehow judge the balls trajectory better, as a result you field better. Something similar happens while batting as well, yielding similar results.
Why it happens? I am simply not good enough to explain it, but I think its a combination of extreme focus, self confidence, feel and the result of your previous 5 minutes. [I hope that makes sense]
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Last edited by beshideshi; April 21, 2010 at 11:20 AM..
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  #6  
Old April 21, 2010, 09:29 AM
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I've never felt what those guys do when they're "in the zone", but then again the only competitive sport I've ever played is school cricket - that too for not long at all. Beating up on friendly neighborhood bowlers on lazy afternoons doesn't really require one to be in the zone.

But I do believe in it. If I may go off on a tangent, I read an article where some players will visit the ground on the day before a big game and pretend to be playing a real match, all by themselves. They'll shadow their shots and try to visualize the crowd, the opposition fielders, the bowler, the distractions in front of the sight screen - all of it. Apparently it helps them prepare psychologically.
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Old April 21, 2010, 09:43 AM
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Then again, I can identify with what those players feel when it comes to other things in life. Like coding.
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Old April 21, 2010, 10:14 AM
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Old April 21, 2010, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Nafi
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Old April 21, 2010, 12:07 PM
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Yes, once I witness one of the greatest athlete in a zone. 7 three pointers five in a row in Finals. They changed Guards to small forward to power forwards to disrupt his rythem, jawed continuously, banged him. Nothing mattered. While back paddling and putting the last dagger in the opponents heart, he shrugged his shoulder towards the camera. Implying "what can I say, it is my day, my time". Clyde the Glyde, Terry Porter and all others witnessed in utter disbelief. It was suppose to be a fight to the end with series leading and at home. Matchup between the best two guards on their prime, going head to head. Michael was in the zone and didn't matter where he was playing and the rest was history. Blazers crowd (one of the loudest) was silent and shocked. It was all one sided and there was never in doubt who was the best.
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Old April 21, 2010, 02:22 PM
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Just had my Redline so it's apt to post while I am zoning.

@offstump that was a good one.

@imteaz I agree with you bro, but just like to point out that to be in the zone doesn't necessarily mean to have a 100+ SR. One can score 31 in like 200 balls and still be in the zone. Hence I started with the Gautum Ghambhir quote.

So in that regards when Junaid scored his snail pace innings I wonder if he was in the zone.

As far as my personal experiences go, never had any "in the zone" moment while playing cricket. But then again, I quit at a young age and wasn't even aware of the term back then. However, I did feel some spiritual moments during practising tennis against the wall where I had to hit the ball in a particular box outline on the wall and at some points I felt I could hit hard and in controlled manner no matter how far the ball was rebounding without hitting it over the wall or anything.


Asif bhai, it's funny you mention it because everytime I search for something similar to the topic I get many results where they talk about having that feeling while coding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AsifTheManRahman
Then again, I can identify with what those players feel when it comes to other things in life. Like coding.
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  #12  
Old April 22, 2010, 12:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeeshanM
@imteaz I agree with you bro, but just like to point out that to be in the zone doesn't necessarily mean to have a 100+ SR. One can score 31 in like 200 balls and still be in the zone. Hence I started with the Gautum Ghambhir quote.
Of course. Same thing happen. When a batter is in 30 of 80 balls and team need 60 more of 45 balls than that batter must have to come out from his zone and score quickly.

It is easier for any batter of batting lineup like India or Australia. We can call it professionalism. Our batters are not that professional yet. Only Tamim has some innings of different strategy but he doesn't have that support. “Ami erokom e kheli” this line is ok. Management also support him to bat without taking any preasure. But is it professionalism when you are the best batter of the team? We excpect something more from Tamim rather batting with same zone always saying “Etai Amar Batting“.

Look at Shakib. He is an aggressive batter but just watch those matches against India & England. Most of the time he threw his wicket for over ambitious shot. Our best player even cannot change his zone according to situation. It also goes for bowlers. Shahadat has ability to take 5 wickets is test match. Now, when you got 5 wickets in first innings than obviously opposition batters will play you carefully and try to find out your weakness. So as a professional you must have to change your strategy in 2nd innings or next match to continue taking wickets. None of our bowlers can do that. Recently we watch only Shakib to continue his form in very next match/innings. In this case also a bowler has to come out from his zone and do something different.

A batter like Shahid Afridi also changed his batting style when it was needed for team (T20 WC FInal 2009 at Lords). A bowler like Muralitharan also bowled leg spin when opposition is comfortable with off spin (England Vs Srilanka, Oval, 1998).

We need to be patient and allow our players to be professional.
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Old April 22, 2010, 02:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imteaz
We need to be patient and allow our players to be professional.
professionalism....... thats the main thing. still our player have not grown enough professionalism. thats why u will see that a bunch of medicore cricketers from the county will perform better than bangladesh's best bunch of cricketers most of the days.
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