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Paul Nixon column – Never get too high on praise or low on criticism

The media will always have a role to play in cricket. Whether it’s good things being written about you and your team, or bad things, you can’t get away from it.

Personally, it didn’t affect me, they could write whatever. As you get older you learn to deal with Press and media better. You understand that they’ve got a job to do and that you know the right things and what is best for your game.

I know Graeme Swann said in this paper last week that no matter what anyone said about him after he had a bad game, he always felt ten times worse – and I was exactly the same.

In every dressing room there is at least one person that doesn’t take criticism well but it can go one of two ways. You can either go into your shell and let them win or you can go out and prove the doubters wrong.

It’s all about character, it’s so important in any team. The very best in the world average 50 but they want to get 100. So statistically they fail every second innings. That’s what drives them on, not what is said on the TV or written in papers.

There are more down days than up days in professional sport and you have to deal with any criticism, or praise, that comes with it. It’s important to not get too high with the highs or too low with the lows.

I’m now on the other side and though it’s not necessarily easy to criticise, you still have to give your opinion and back it up. Any ex-players who become pundits, or are involved in the media, have to give valid reasons why they make their comments. As long as there is reason behind it, then you will earn more respect.

As a coach, I don’t mind the TV being on in changing rooms, but without the volume up. As a player, I didn’t like it when I was batting next, but bowlers do. They can see the opposition bowlers and replays and can learn from that. It is an individual thing, though, and there are plenty of other things to do than watch the TV.

It’s not just on the box anymore, though. Social media is a massive thing now and it seems everyone is a pundit and wants to have their say. People sometimes throw comments out there for a bit of attention and to get a reaction. You can’t pay any notice of that.

There are good pundits and bad pundits. Rob Key and Bob Willis are big names in the media. Willis has almost become a pantomime dame. You just expect the humour from him now when he’s actually got some great ideas. It does sometimes get clouded by that kind of persona he shares with Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood. Keysy is more respectful because he’s only just left the game. He has played with a lot of these players, but he still gives valid reasons for what he says. That’s important to the viewers and it’s appreciated by cricket lovers.

Getting into the media is always something I’ve been interested in. I love watching the game and hearing people’s opinions. I’m a people person, and though you’re never going to have everybody liking you, you can still entertain and, hopefully, educate.

It gives you a different viewpoint, too. You often see players jumping into the commentary box mid-game and that helps when you get back to the dressing room. It gives you fresh ideas and you learn from that.

This piece originally featured in The Cricket Paper, November 11 2016

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