Approaching Cricket with a Gambler’s Mentality

One of the greatest cricketers of all time, Shane Warne, is also known to be a keen gambler and poker player. There could be a reason why the Australian legend made the switch to the cards after retiring, as the two pastimes share a lot of similarities. There are times during a cricket match when players need to display mental resilience and other occasions when they are required to make calculated risks. There is certainly something to be said for a winning streak bringing about more confidence and allowing players to push on to greater things.

Many young aspiring cricketers will have watched Ben Stokes’ heroic performance in the third Ashes test against Australia and decided they wanted to be just like the 28-year-old. Stokes singlehandedly pulled England back from an impossible situation to claim victory in that match, and he did it through gambling and riding his luck. There are only a select few players throughout history who spring to mind when thinking about who may be capable of such a feat. The likes of Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff could have done the same, perhaps, but it could never have been done by a conservative batsman like Michael Atherton or Geoffrey Boycott.

During that incredible innings, Stokes had to go against the traditional form of test match batting which normally requires batsmen to play defensively and wait for the right moment to pull off strokes. Instead, he had to take risks to make sure he was on strike more often than the inexperienced and weaker batsmen, Jack Leach. That last wicket partnership between the two was 76, with Leach scoring one run.

Aggressive batsmen such as Stokes, AB De Villiers, and Chris Gayle tend to grow into the game and look to pull off more impressive shots as they go deeper into an innings. Gamblers play roulette, blackjack, and pokies in a similar way. Many players feel that when they are on a winning streak, the best way to continue to win pokies is to ride that luck and increase the bet sizing. When a batsman is settled at the crease and has scored at least fifty runs, they may feel that this is the time to go for the more ambitious drives and cuts.

Bowlers often need to gamble and take risks as well. When they aren’t having any luck at taking a wicket, the bowler often needs to mix up his choice of delivery. This is especially true for spin bowlers like Adil Rashid, who need to identify the right time to throw in a googly or a flipper.

Just like gamblers, cricketers can get into the zone when they are settled at the crease or after they have bowled a few successful overs. Sometimes, it seems that riding a winning streak is the best way to get good results.