Comment: Mental toughness can be key to our players’ success in the game


Players’ mental development is paramount for their individual and collective success, both on and off the field. Given the rising importance of motivational (mental) training in modern day sports, we in recent history have witnessed several international outfits hiring the services of high-performance counsellors and motivational speakers for players and their coaches. Cricket no doubt is a sport that requires strategic thinking by the captain, coach and the entire team. Match pressure coupled with pessimism can break the best of players, captains as well as the teams. We all know what happened to England batsmen Jonathan Trott in the last Ashes and to Graham Thorpe and Marcus Trescothick before him. They were all very fine cricketers but could not handle pressure.

Pakistan cricket, considering its present state of affairs, also need solid and sustained counseling sessions for the players in order to groom them for pressure situations and make them mentally tough. Sports psychologist and motivational speaker Moin-ul-Atiq in this regard did a fairly good job in our cricket in recent years.

Let me share a practical example of Moin’s work who joined the Port Qasim Authority (PQA) as mental game coach and motivational speaker in the previous season. He helped my players develop a positive attitude both on and off the field besides teaching them concentration techniques, goal-setting techniques, team dynamics during fielding, bowling and batting. And when the PQA players followed his advice and guidelines they produced excellent results.

Moin-ul-Atiq can groom players for future challenges

Moin, himself a former international cricketer, has strong academic credentials in the field of players’ self management and skills development as well as teamwork which makes him a very good choice as sports psychologist and motivational speaker for focussed, result-oriented training of our budding players.

Not only the youngsters, but I believe even our national team players can benefit from the experience of Moin whose work is primarily based on inculcating positive thinking among players and their support staff – even in the most challenging circumstances.

With the 2015 World Cup less than five months away, I think the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should think seriously about start working on war footing on the overall preparation and development of players who they feel would be in the reckoning for the mega event. Moin, I feel, in this regard is a standout choice, also because he in the recent past has worked individually on a number of prominent Pakistan cricketers including Younis Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad and others for improving their game psyche.

Plus Moin has also given some lectures to our national players on mental development and positive attitude to gain sustained success. So, he has the overall idea about the players’ problems and knows better than others, I feel, on how to handle them.

And here I would like to make it very clear that mental development requires continuous contact between the motivational speaker and his players, particularly during a competition, and therefore I hope the PCB would look into this matter urgently, mainly for the sake of betterment of Pakistan cricket in the long run.