No professional sportsman in the world hasn’t choked in a pressure situation and none have ever failed to improve as a result of feeling the intense heat of high level competition.
There is no reason why Boeta Dippenaar shouldn’t re-emerge from the nightmare he suffered on the second day in Adelaide and if he does, he will be an infinitely stronger cricketer.
Dippenaar does not lack self-belief but that was not the reason he belted Glenn McGrath through the covers to get off the mark with a millionaire’s cover drive just moments after arriving at the crease.
It was a stunning shot. Ambitious beyond belief. It would have been the shot of the day in different circumstances.
Yet every single man who has experienced the cauldron of Test cricket knew the shot was born out of terror.
It was instinctive, uncontrolled, dangerous, inappropriate…everything was wrong with it, yet it was gloriously played and it crashed into the advertising boards as hard as anything else had all day.
The proof came just a couple of balls later when Boeta slashed at just his seventh ball. Caught. Gone. It was over.
When he returned to the dressing room it would have taken a long time for the adrenalin to work itself out of his body and when it did he would have felt physically bruised and emotionally shattered.
It may take even longer for him to admit that he had choked.
If and when he does, however, he is honest and smart enough to learn and benefit from the experience. For the next couple of weeks however, he may find himself back on the sidelines.
The great irony of his selection in the first place is that Jacques Rudolph was felt to suffer from the occasional “adrenalin rush.”
Boeta just broke the tour record for that.
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