Matthew Hayden, former Australian opener, played cricket in the era when the Aussies literally dominated and wholly-owned rest of the teams. The staggering career of Hayden itself shows how prodigious he was as the top-order batsman for the Kangaroos.
The southpaw was one of the very few batsmen in the cricketing world who was rich with both physical and mental strength. But how did he manage to do that? Well, the broad-chested Queenslander has revealed the secret in a chat show hosted by his former teammate Shane Watson.
While, speaking to Watson on his podcast Lessons Learnt with the Greats, Hayden revealed that Hollywood actor Tom Cruise through his famous movie ‘The Last Samurai’ left a significant influence on him.
Hayden referred to a scene where Samurai prepares Cruise for the final battle against the grand army. In the process, one of the Samurai tells Cruise that he has ‘too many minds’, and urges him to clear his thoughts. Hayden said that it helped to improve his style of play as he applied that to his own game.
“That scene changed my career forever as it was related to the mental aspects of the game, which transfer over to the physical aspects of the game,” said Hayden.
“There’s a stillness and a beauty in batting which is a mediation in itself that we all miss, still to this day, that connection purely around having nothing but an empty vessel to work with so that you can absorb and retain information quicker,” the 48-year-old added.
The Kingaroy-born stated that cricket is about reaction time and the movie teaches you that. He also said that clearing all the other thoughts while doing anything helps to increase the concentration, which he applied in his cricketing career as well.
“Because it’s all about that reaction time. It’s about the early pick-up, it’s about being really settled with the conditions. It’s about being confident and personally satisfied. These are really difficult things, and they’re the 101s of meditation. You don’t get any of those elements right and before you know it your mind starts going in 1000 different directions, often to what it shouldn’t be,” Hayden added further.