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Nasser's cricketing mind games
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A black and white portrait of Nasser Hussain
Cricketers need to be focused all the time

Nasser Hussain

Almost everything about cricket is played in the head.

I prepare myself through visualisation, like watching a video of the opposition and getting to grips with their bowlers.

I'll also concentrate on getting my heartbeat down and relaxing.

I get very nervous before I go out to bat.

I try to kid myself that it's just another game, that's it's not that important an innings when I really know it is, be it for Essex or England.

So you play mind games with yourself to get into the right frame of thinking so you can play to the best of your abilities.

Nasser Hussain practices in the nets with England
Net practice builds confidence

My nerves usually start to kick in on the morning of the match, which for me is the hardest time.

Waiting to go out and bat is also difficult. It adds to the nerves sitting in the dressing room watching whoever's batting.

But I've found I've played my best innings when we've lost a few early wickets - I haven't got time to get nervous waiting to bat.

For me, to get into good batting form, I need fluency.

I need to keep batting, whether it's in the nets or out in the middle, to get into my batting groove.

With fluency comes confidence, another important factor in the mind games of cricket.

If I'm ever out of form, a lot of it's about confidence.

I need to go back to basics in the nets to get everything right so I can go out there and score runs.

Getting a good innings out in the middle is, to me, the same as a week's worth of batting in the nets.

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Nasser Hussain factfile
Born: 28 March 1968, Madras (now Chennai), India
Teams: Essex, England
Batting Style: Right Hand Bat
Tests: 96
England Test debut: West Indies, 1st Test, Jamaica, 1989
Highest Test score: 207 v Australia, Edgbaston, 1997
One-Day caps: 88
One-Day runs: 2332
Highest one-day score: 115, v India, Lord's 2002

Nasser's Test record compared to other England skippers
Hussain P45 W17 L15
Gooch P34 W10 L12
Atherton P54 W13 L21
Gower P32 W5 L18
Gatting P23 W2 L5

Did you know?
Nasser was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) on New Year's Eve in 2001


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