Legendary Australian opening batsman Matthew Hayden has spoken about how a scene from Hollywood film The Last Samurai helped him develop as a cricketer.
Speaking on the Lessons Learnt with the Greats podcast, hosted by Hayden’s former Australia teammate Shane Watson, Hayden explained how one scene in the film starring Tom Cruise influenced his approach to batting. The scene in question sees Cruise’s character being told to clear his mind after losing a sword fight.
“I was watching a movie last night with the kids. For about the 15,000th time we watched this movie The Last Samurai,” said Hayden. “At the start of the movie I said to the kids, ‘There’s a point in time in this movie that a certain line changed my career forever.’ Their game was to pick where it was. To a young fella, they all picked it.
“It was a line around the mental aspect of the game which transferred over to the physical aspect of the game and that was the line where Tom Cruise, for the first time coming in combat with his nemesis from the Samurai side that killed his best mate, and one of the boys, the son of the King, came up to him and said, ‘You too many mind. Mind on this, mind on that. Just no mind.’
“There’s a stillness and a beauty in batting that’s a meditation in itself that we all miss, that connection around having nothing but an empty vessel to work with so that you can absorb and retain information quicker.
“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 1,000 different directions, often to what it shouldn’t be.”