Monday, May 10, 2010

T20 2012 - Here we come !!

That's the only thing we can now look forward to and cheer about. Because India is virtually out of this year's reckoning as far as the T20 tournament goes. Unless an absolute mathematical miracle and 'good luck plays a part.

And India has reached this situation thanks to just two bad games against Australia and the West Indies. And one or two bad days in the field are enough for any team to be out of the reckoning - that's how severe and cut throat the competition is.

So why is it that India lands up in a situation such as this, more often than not? Why is it that every time India steps into the field to play a match, we can only guess as to what the outcome of the game will be. We cannot say with a reasonable degree of confidence that India will emerge as the winner.

In my opinion, it is the top order batsmen who have to take life much more seriously, when it comes to their contribution to the teams' achievement

Today, everyone is so enamoured by the 'stars' of Indian cricket that we cannot even bring ourselves to think and analsyse along the lines - that maybe it is those stars who are letting us down. And when I say everyone being enamoured, I mean the selectors, cricket experts, millions of spectators and fans and the media.

We have let grow a cricket 'culture' in our Country wherein, one 'flash in the pan' performance by a batsman, is enough to secure his berth in the team for many many tours and tournaments. He is 'glorified' many times over and slowly learns to live in past glory. Many times his contribution in the team is that of a mere passenger. He remains secure in the belief that it will be a long, long time - many many innings and opportunities will be frittered away, all kinds of analysis would be conducted on the performance of the team, yet no one will have the moral courage to take a long hard look at specific individuals who failed the team-to call a spade a spade regardless of whether it was a novice team member responsible for a debacle, or a cricket 'star'.

If the Indian Cricket team's performance needs to change - this 'culture' has to change....

It is these stars who need to take up the burden of responsibility of winning matches and tournaments. The onus of delivering results lies on them and them alone. Like all other senior members of any team of any kind, the buck stops at them. They have to justify their place in the National squad, in face of threats from younger talent.

The window of tolerance of failure has to be much more narrow. Put in a more straightforward manner, two or three failures in a row, and the player has to give way to a replacement. IT is this 'cut throat' clinical approach that the selectors will have to adopt to create a 'fear' of consequence' which in my opinion is absent in the minds of 'star' players today.

A player's past record is important but cannot be the single most important factor in judging him.In the new culture each player has to rise to the occasion, when the situation is critical. In other words, a good player's performance in a crucial 'make or break' match like the one against the West Indies yesterday, has to be 'doubly better' and must have a huge positive bearing on the outcome of the game, rather than the other way around. In the new culture each player has to excel

And Excellence is certainly about scoring big runs time after time. But excellence is definitely more about a great responsible performacne when the chips were down. Its about displaying grit, determination and leadership in a difficult situaion. Its about a display worthy of the skills possesses and coupled with years of experience.

Excellence is about an exemplary and an inspiring performance

When the going gets tough, the tough should get going, and not let down the team when their contribution is needed the most.

It's time we stopped harping about batting averages. These numbers are misleading.

Consistency is the key.

A good consistent batsman should be prefered any day over a highly skilled batsman who is terribly inconsistent. Consider a simple example. A skilled batsman who scored a 100 - 0 - 100 - 0 in four consecutive innings will still boast of a batting average of 50 which appears impressive. But the fact remains that he was out for a duck in two of the four innings, and those two innings might have been very crucial to the team !

Notwithstanding all of the above, the ideal culture is when any player - be it a Gambhir or a Sehwag on realising that he hasn't performed and that his performance has adversely affected his team's position, himself offers his place in the team to another player. That will be the true display of sporting spirit and more importantly character - important ingredients in the mental make up of any sportsman.

Because at the end of the day, the number of runs you scored will be counted as part of Cricketing Statistics, but the character you displayed, will stand out for ever.

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