What I owe to Cricket

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When my friend rather respected person (read Gosar) mentioned to me about writing something on Cricket, I was totally confused not because I can’t write or play or watch but for the fact that I am not one of those Indians who eat, sleep and breathe cricket. I do not follow all the matches, I did not run out on the streets to celebrate India’s World cup victory, may not have seen many beautiful innings and definitely plan to avoid certain important matches for India (superstitious you see). Yet in a country where cricket stands tall amidst other religions, it is difficult to not be affected by the sport in a manner which cannot have a material impact on your life. And being a cricket fan in my own way, I have my own favourites which may be weird for the fact that it helps me realise what kind of person I want to be.

Any discussion on present cricket would be incomplete without the mention of its modern-day pioneers- the ones who toiled to build the road to take this sport to a totally different level of excitement. Be it Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Brian Lara, Brett Lee, MSD, Lance Klusener, Shane Warne, Jacques Kallis and so on, they all have led the way in a manner to re-define how we enjoy this beautiful sport right from ‘straight drives’ to ‘helicopter shot’ to the ‘Doosra’ and the ‘Googly’. However I would like to mention the impact some of these great cricketers have had on my life.

I will begin with the god himself, to this nation of billion people, Sachin Tendulkar. He, undoubtedly, is one of the best cricketers the game has ever seen. I say so not for the bundle of records that he has broken and owns, the number of trophies that lie in his house or the consistency he has displayed throughout but for the joy he gives to the people, the hope that he gave to the nation struggling to find some inspiration and for the gentleman that he is, be it on or off the field. Blessed with great technique and innovation, he showed us how raw talents are moulded in to perfection through sheer hard-work. The lesson I learnt from him that will remain etched in my memory: “Success and hard-work are not a one-time phenomenon, on achieving the desired level once, one needs to be prepared for the higher level because in effect Success is but relative”

If we have Sachin on one hand, then Shane Warne does represent the complete opposite, in every respect be it professional or personal life though both share a quality of recognizing true talent, a feat Warne showed us with the IPL Team Rajasthan Royals. While the basic primary expectation from any spinner is to first understand the track, bowl some variations, and understand the pitch and more importantly the batsman, a world class spinner that Warne is, apart from the above, he had mastered the art of getting into the minds of the batsman and trouble him even before he has played a single ball (something which modern spinners like Ashwin miss). I was completely surprised at the way he explained his analysis in one of the videos on a popular cricket analytics website – the manner in which he approached the game. Lesson one needs to learn: “When one is in competition, rather than the talent and work, mental games are important” (although this is better explained by Sir Alex Ferguson and Mourinho)

Now moving on to the cool-headed person like MSD, often referred to even ‘The Man with the Golden Touch’. He probably doesn’t play the fabulous cover-drive often but never has never shied away from displaying a quality that many of us lack, the ability to trust his gut and make uncommon choices (yes, it is absurd if he hands the ball to Ishant Sharma in Champions Trophy final but it is his Golden touch that helped Ishant win it for us). People may not have the best of talents but what is more important is temperament and risk-taking ability. If we are able to win, we emerge as heroes if not then villains perhaps but way different from what a normal person is. It is important for one to keep calm and composed (a big lesson for a person like me).

And lastly I would like to mention about my idol- Rahul S Dravid. One of the best persons (read persons, not cricketers) or rather the best person of the generation- he personifies three qualities which are most important- dedication, humility and selflessness. One may not be the most talented person in the field he wants to excel but if he trains himself enough, he can certainly make sure that he may be amongst one of them – something which always has been my mantra.

Cricket and more importantly this person have made me realise that I may not get complete due for the work that I have done for any organization but when I do go, I hope to leave behind my own legacy- people who get inspired by my works to perform better. I may be the most important person in the world but if I am not humble then perhaps I should not expect anything from anyone else also. Aggression in a way may bring you instant success but ultimately it’s your character and humility which makes you great.

People may always dispute upon the fact that this person has scored more runs or taken more wickets. What is more important is how influential has been the person in your life – it is the influence and learning rather than statistics which should influence your choice and not vice-versa.

On an ending note, just a quick observation- It’s said that people always carry your first impressions in their minds. However when one remembers Lance Klusener, the first thing they remember is 1999 Semi-final, when one talks about Yuvraj, its about 6 sixes. Ultimately impressions mould over a period of time. One may not succeed initially in impressing someone but true character and traits do stand out over a period of time.

P.S.: I may not have touched upon on many of the cricketers who are great, for I was too lazy to remember and write upon them

P.P.S: The above mentioned learnings are what I consider important and related to a particular person. The article aims at learning from a person and not on who symbolises what trait.

This is guest post by Sanket Kothari, a Finance grad from SPJIMR coupled with degree in engineering, loves exploring and gaining knowledge with no specific boundaries. Loves masala flicks but expects people to be rational.

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