Thursday, March 3, 2011

Learnings from sports....

(Warning : by sports, i mean Test Cricket, ODI cricket, T20 cricket and any other form of cricket in that order followed by Tennis, Football, F1 depending upon the season)

Tennis is a game that lets you have a chance of winning even when you are down and out. We have seen number of instances of Andre Agassi coming back from the brink - match point after being 2 sets down already and then breaking it, and winning the match. There was one such match with Todd Martin. Takes talent, skill, fitness and intent. Positive intent.

Such a thing is unlikely to happen in football or hockey, say if a team is leading 5 - 0 at halftime, they can very well defend all the remaining time and win the game. The other side may try and play as well as they can, they are unlikely to make a comeback from that situation. May happen, but its a long shot.

Cricket, and let me say i am biased here, offers you a chance to redeem yourself. And the first thing you need for that is positive intent - talent, skill, fitness come later. The very design of Test cricket (2 innings per team) allows that. So does limited overs cricket. You dont bat well, but can come back and win with your bowling performance eg. 1983 World Cup final where India defended 183 against a rampaging West Indian batting line up. Or you dont bowl well but more than make up with your batting eg. the match where South Africa chased down a 430 odd runs against the mighty Australians. Ok, there are influencers like the pitch, weather, dew and so on. But whats most important is what you are thinking at the midway stage.

Last sunday, England came out all guns blazing against India needing 339 to win the game, it was a tied match. But you got appreciate the English teams intent - they could have lost the match even before they come out to bat. But the English batted well, led by captain Strauss to make a match of it. Ofcourse, they were helped by a flat pitch, poor fielding and not so wise bowling.

Today, minnows Ireland actually chased down the English total of 327 to win the match. At one stage they were 111-5 when Kevin O'Brien and Alex Cusack came together. They put 162 runs before Mooney put the finishing touches to calmly win the game. What were they thinking of their chances in the interval or 111-5 ? In O'Briens words : ' we could have just pottered around and finished at 220 in 50 overs, but that would not have looked good on TV. So i just chanced my arm, played some positive cricket and went on to win' simple. This man scored the fastest 100 of world cup history! 50 balls flat, eclipsing Matther Haydens record. Ofcourse they were helped by poor bowling, poor fielding, a flat pitch and other factors - but hey, fortune favours the brave!!!!

Sport, in general, gives us valuable lessons that can be applied to life too. If you are down and out at one stage, doesnt mean you are out of the game. Had O'Brien or Strauss, not tried, they would have definitely not won the points they got. Had they believed they will not be able to score the runs required to win, they would have lost badly.

But that intent itself isnt enough. Application, focus equally important. O'Brien today played classic cricketing shots. So did Strauss on sunday. Kevin Peterson, the man expected to perform in such situations, got out playing cheeky 'cute' shots!

This doesnt mean you will always get what you want, cos you have to contend with forces working against you - pressure, opponent, the elements and so on. This tells us the importance of de -linking effort from results - acceptance of the result after putting in your best.

So my dear friends, as we learnt from these cricketing lessons, in any situation, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by being positive, focussed at the task at hand, using the best possible means and accepting the result.

Which is more or less same as the most famous take out from the Bhagwad Gita : KARMANYE VAADHIKA RASHTEY MAA FALESHU KADACHAN

PS : Today i told a friend i'll become a preacher. But I did not promise to preach only what i practise. :)

Disclaimer : These preachings are insomnia and CWC excitement induced. To be taken seriously at your own risk.

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