It could be going from representative level back to grade cricket or simply being selected for the 2nd XI. For some players getting dropped is a cricketing disaster. It's a dramatic demonstration that they are not up to the task.
They steel themselves to get straight back in the team and end up trying so hard their performance and confidence drops even further. But it doesn't have to be like that. When you deal with it in the right way, getting dropped can end up making you a better player.
Even the greats have been dropped at some point. What marked them out was the way they bounced back.
How dropping a level can boost your confidence
Playing against weaker opposition gives you more room to breathe.
Mistakes that would be punished by better players are missed. You can find an average game turning into a good one. Once you are feeling good about yourself, the good performances come more easily and before you know it your stats are making a stir in selection meetings.
How to bounce back from getting dropped
But getting dropped and getting back into the team needs some work on your part. Fortunately it's a simple three step process:
- Find out why you were dropped. You can't begin to fight back until you know exactly why you were dropped. Ask the captain, coach or selectors their reasons. Perhaps they feel you are out of form or maybe they just wanted to make a tactical change.
- Ask what you need to do to get back in the team. If it's a form problem you may be told all you need to do is score runs and take wickets. A tactical change can also be overcome by weight of numbers, although you may have to bide your time. Don't guess; make sure you are set a realistic goal from those who decide.
- Take advantage of the situation. The final step is to make the most of your chance. You can have a lot of fun plundering players a step below your normal standard, but they won't have runs and wickets to you on a plate. Look to put in as good a performance as you always do and never back off the gas if you are serious about getting back up a level.
How playing a lower level can improve your game
It's not just about getting form back though. You chance at a lower grade or standard can also teach you some things about your game.
Players will look to you as an experienced or even star player; a responsibility that, if you allow it, will make you better. It's all about focus. If you see the extra responsibility as pressure you may crack. If you see it as a way to get focused on your goal you will be able to stay in the moment with greater consistency.
And that's the most important part of getting dropped. It's a chance to take responsibility, show your character and face the problem head on.
If you plan to be a decent player, it's the only way to deal with it.