Dealing with the Drop

With the current series on the go between South Africa and India in which teams and players have been tested to the limit. Both teams have been faced with interesting dilemmas in their selection for their final eleven players to take the field for these all important clashes. From the peak of professionals to the local club 3rd XI the experience of being dropped can shake the most resilient players and handling it can often be the difference between long term success and performance and complete collapse of confidence. Here are some strategies on how to cope with the “the drop” and “the recall”.


Most players who have taken part in any sport and cricket in particular empathise with the feelings related with being dropped. Disappointment is the common thread, but players also feel angry, especially if it is sudden or without good reason as well as many experiencing a sense of loss and lack of belonging during this period. Some may even feel relief to be out of the pressure cooker and a chance to reset your game. Whichever emotion you experience it is important to acknowledge and accept this sentiment and move through it mindfully in order to stay clear in purpose and principle as so often a knee jerk reaction to the event which can lead to further negativity directed towards you and the team.

What is next?

It is important to take ownership at this stage. Too many people stay in a lull by complaining and making excuses for their exclusion for too long. This is counterproductive for both the team dynamics and your personal development.

The key to this period is to be proactive in your communication with the coaches and selectors regarding your selection in order to improve on elements which are urgent to your reselection. For example, if you have been left out for a slow strike rate in limited overs cricket, practice some new ways of scoring quickly and gain skills and insight into pushing your run rate up. This work ethic will go noticed by the coaches and selectors and gives you the best chance of succeeding when recalled to the team.

Another important aspect of this can be to gain perspective. Spend some time with your support structure as well as placing some effort into other interests. This may be studying, hobbies or just relaxing in order to stay mentally in tune.


Many a prophetic word has been mentioned about “trying too hard” and this can often be the case when reselected for the starting XI. Often an ego driven response is to “prove the critics wrong”. Although this can be an effective short term plan, it can often lead to an individual forcing the performance and wanting the result so badly that the processes to get there are not adhered to sufficiently.

When the opportunity presents itself strive to be the best you can and with your new and improved skills as well as renewed confidence you will be able to take the chances to make yourself a certainty in the team.

Being replaced can often be due to external factors beyond your control. Perhaps it is an injury, a pitch which does not suit your current skill set, the balance of the team, the composition of the opposition team or just a change in game strategy and direction that the coaches are moving towards. In all these scenarios, “control the controllables” and continue to be a positive influence in and around the team, particularly if you are elected the 12th man.[/upme_private]]