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Cutting Through the Noise

09 October 2018

2018 has been a different kind of year for Ben Cutting. He's playing in new teams, tournaments and countries. Meeting more people and experiences different cultures. But while the path might be new, his mindset remains the same.

Cutting’s Brisbane Heat record makes for impressive reading. He holds club records for the most games played, most wickets taken and third most runs, while also being a crucial member of the BBL|02 Championship winning team.

Yet despite his successes as a part of the Heat elite, Cutting has often been a much talked-about player in the post-game discussions on social media.  

For players new to professional cricket, the online noise of a loss can be a distraction. But for Cutting, that’s all it is. Noise.

His mindset is simple. Check social media after a loss or a bad performance and it can wreak havoc on your confidence. Give the haters attention, then it can be game-over in your mind.

“It’s pretty simple. I don’t check social media after games. It’s one of those things, you get positives and negatives from games. If you log on and check twitter or Instagram after you’ve had a good game, then you need to do the same after you’ve had a bad game. I’d prefer not to do either,” Cutting says in preparation for his latest T20 sojourn overseas where he will play for the Nangarhar Leopards in the Afghanistan Premier League.


“I never felt like I needed to respond (to online commentary), but sometimes early on when I wasn’t that experienced, a lot of those comments would play on your mind, and that can affect your game if you’re hearing it time and time again.


“Some of these comments can make you feel like the worst player in the world, but realistically you are playing in the best competition in the world. Things are going to happen. You’re going to have a good game, you’re going to have a bad game. You’ve got to ride those waves,” he continued.


WATCH: Ben Cutting Blasts the Scorchers


While Cutting’s 12-year professional career has allowed him the experience to ignore unwanted distractions, he admits social media commentary could be harder for the younger generation with an attachment to the digital world to overlook, though he would have no problem in wrapping his arms around a teammate who was struggling with online virtiol.


“I’d like to think I’ve developed a pretty thick skin in the time I’ve been playing. For the young guys it is tough to avoid that because everything is on our phones these days. But it’s important that your teammates know you back them as players. If we see someone down then we would get behind them as a team,” he said.


2018 has launched a new beginning in Cutting’s career. He has called time on his 51-game first-class innings with the Queensland Bulls, and will now play as a self-described ‘freelance cricketer’, travelling the world on the T20 circuit.


It’s a path well-worn and one that has extended the careers of many of the game’s current greats.   


Already a veteran of 54 Big Bash League games and stints with three Indian Premier League franchises, Cutting played in the Caribbean Premier League for the first time this year, while the back-end of 2018 will see him feature in the Afghanistan Premier League and the UAE T10 League. At the time of writing, his Afghan campaign has started with a hattrick and five wickets in his first game as skipper of the Nangarhar Leopards.


“I’ve loved it,” Cutting says when asked about not having to go through the rigours and fitness tests that come with a Queensland Bulls pre-season.


“No 5am boxing sessions or running up sand-hills. Getting to do my own training in my own time is a lot more relaxing, but it does also put a lot of ownership on me as well.”


As he is finding out though, preparing for a T20 tournament when you might get one week together as a squad means taking responsibility for your own training.


“There’s definitely positives and negatives as a freelance cricketer. The positive is you get to play a lot more cricket. The negative is if you’re not looking after yourself and you have one or two bad tournaments, you can find yourself out of the system pretty quickly, so you really need to say on top of your game,” he said.


With the Big Bash League edging ever closer, Heat fans will be seeing him at the top of his game when the first ball is bowled on December 19 at the Gabba.


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