The Haynes Discourse


Haynes was a role model of mine. He and Greenidge were a pair that would take apart any bowling attack in the world. From the start of the day’s play I had kept a close watch on him. He was sitting in the Sussex dressing room, absorbed in the match. I worried that he might not talk kindly to an impulsive young Indian cricketer barging in on him. He would not remember that four years ago I had played a one-day match against his West Indies at the Gabba.

Finally I gathered enough courage to approach him. Haynes quickly put me at ease and spoke as if I was a close relation… Haynes gave me some advice that I’ll never forget. This conversation took place about twenty-one years ago. Yet I will remember the Haynes discourse forever. Later I realized that he was teaching me about life. Not cricket.

Over to Haynes:

I played top-class cricket continuously for 15-16 years for a team that didn’t know how to lose. What stood out in that team was enormous self-belief… Every night before I went to sleep I would sit in the hotel room and go over my performance. I calculated how I would score the next day. I visualized that I would hit the fast bowlers in front of the wicket, through the cover region. And it happened exactly as I had imagined. On the nights I was a bit apprehensive and thought I might offer an edge to Lillee at the Gabba, that invariably happened too. Seven times out of ten, cricketing successes are born out of visualizing positively… Eight times out of ten, failures happen because of surrendering mentally. A negative mindset will only bring in negative results.

I would remember that conversation with Haynes through my cricketing career. I could clearly see at that young age that winners handle pressure differently. While most people are paralyzed by the thought of failure, champions think of pressure as an opportunity to climb further up the ladder.

Sourav Ganguly, A Century Is Not Enough, (Juggernaut, 2018).