It’s funny, isn’t it. You plan for years, play nine tough games, and then your hopes of a World Cup win and the resultant career-high rest on an hour and a half of T20 equivalent cricket. ― Harsha Bhogle
I would be lying if I said I never ever dreamt of being a cricketer some day. It’s in the blood of every true cricket fan, right?
Many of us cricket nuts would have gone through this phase – when all we wanted to do was play cricket and the only thing we ever wanted was a cricket bat.
Cricket is something that keeps every child in India going. The gullies, streets and grounds are occupied by kids playing cricket and a few of these lads would have taken their dream forward, enrolling in cricket coaching classes to learn about the sport in depth. Some might have ended up playing for the school team or the district teams as well.
They say cricket is not a game, it’s a religion.
Cricket has a big impact on my life, it has taught me many lessons. These are the lessons I learnt.
1. Be a gentleman, be a legend – A legend is someone who revolutionises the situation, someone who inspires, someone whose contribution may be small but it creates a deep impact.
Brendon McCullum hung up his boots after the second test match versus the Australians at home in February 2016. He got a world record of fastest 100 in a test match. Only a fool would have disliked the brand of cricket the Kiwis played under his leadership. Hard, attacking cricket coupled with the tag of the ‘nicest’ team around is a combination few sides over the decades have mastered.
2. There are no enemies, Only rivals – make allies.
The India–Pakistan cricket rivalry is one of the most intense sports rivalries in the world. In 2007/08, Pakistan toured India for the ODI series. Despite this fierce rivalry, when Akhtar (Pakistan bowler in green colour jersey) fell to the ground, Sehwag (Indian Batsman in blue colour jersey) extended his hand to help the paceman back to his feet.
3. Be passionate enough to cry – Being passionate about what you do is an asset.
Tears are a natural part of our human expression. Expressing emotion is healthy for all humans, and crying is one of our bodies’ ways of releasing pain. South African team crying after losing the semi-final of ICC Cricket World Cup in 2015.
4. Never ever…. give up!!!
24th March 2016, a final-ball drama happened at the World Cup T20 between India and Bangladesh. Bangladesh required 2 runs from 3 balls with 3 wickets in hand and in the right position to win the match, however under the captaincy of Dhoni (and super keeping in the last bowl), the Indian team didn’t give up till the last ball and won the match by 2 runs
5. Never be overconfident – Confidence is good but overconfidence always sinks the ship.
In the same match, a Bangladesh batsman named Rahim hit the ball out of boundary and everyone was hoping Bangladesh would win the match. However, Rahim and another end batsman started celebrating early and became overconfident. Result, they lost control over the situation and finally lost the match by 2 runs.
6. Never forget the person, who made you.
Dhoni, former Indian skipper, who made his debut against Bangladesh under Ganguly’s captaincy in 2004. Ganguly was playing his last test match (Nov 2008) under the captaincy of Dhoni and in the last session of the test match, Dhoni handed over the captaincy to Ganguly as a honour and bid a farewell.
7. Encourage – Doesn’t matter if they are your rival in present or future.
ODI series 2009, Sri Lanka vs India. Gautam Gambhir (Senior player) gave his Man of the Match award to young Virat Kohli (Junior player). India was facing a very competitive total. Openers Sehwag and Tendulkar were dismissed in quick succession for scores of 10 and 8 respectively, putting India in a tricky situation.
However, two boys from Delhi completely turned around the game. Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli stepped up and put together a record partnership of 224 runs. The duo took the game away from Sri Lanka with their charismatic display of batting. Virat Kohli got to his maiden century in a match winning cause. While Kohli was dismissed for 107 off 114, Gambhir stayed till India crossed the line as he remained unbeaten on 150 off 137. As expected, Gautam Gambhir was awarded the Man of the Match Award. But when he approached Ravi Shastri to collect his award, Gambhir decided that he wanted to pass on his award to Virat.
8. Be the greatest you can be, and you will be rewarded with the trust and respect of your peers.
Ben Stokes’ World Cup and Ashes heroics brings Cricketer of the Year award.
9. Be a team player.
U-19 World Cup: New Zealand bundled out the West Indies for a total of 238 but won hearts by helping Kirk McKenzie off the pitch. New Zealand under-19 players Jesse Tashkoff and Joseph Field received praise from cricket fans around the globe after their generous act of helping injured West Indies batsman Kirk McKenzie.
10. Know your best shot and when to use it.
In cricket, the helicopter shot is the act of hitting the ball by means of a wristy flick, using the bottom hand as the dominant force. The shot gets its name from the flourish completing the stroke, with the bat being circled overhead. It has been considered an unconventional and innovative stroke which, when executed effectively, can be used to score boundaries – even against good yorkers or fuller-length deliveries, which have traditionally been used by faster bowlers towards the end of limited-overs matches because it is difficult to hit such balls to the boundary. The shot got its name and fame through MS Dhoni, who played on a regular basis as a way to score boundaries against full and yorker length deliveries.
11. You can achieve impossible with patience and temperament.
Of all the logical explanations you can find for the illogical progress of New Zealand to the final of the Cricket World Cup, nothing is as persuasive as their skipper Kane Williamson. Williamson is personally responsible for almost a third of his team’s total runs. He has done that behind openers who have produced the lowest average stand for the first wicket of any team in the tournament.
“Your game was appreciated by all and you had a great World Cup.” – Sachin Tendulkar to Kane Williamson after the 2019 World Cup final.
You don’t have to be the opening batsman to contribute great things.
12. Be courageous enough to walk, when you know it’s not working.
Rahul Dravid, Former Indian skipper, in the cricket world is known as a “The Wall” and had a reputation as a man who blocked it, perhaps a little harshly at times. Rahul Dravid is the only batsman in test history to face more than 30,000 deliveries across their career. He retired from international cricket in 2012 and in his retirement statement he mentioned, “I came to this decision and when I came to it, I was very clear in my mind.” As Dravid had known “deep down in his heart” that it was time for the “next generation of the young Indian cricketer” to take over.
13. Don’t be a boss, be a leader – a boss manages their employees, while a leader inspires them to innovate, think creatively, and strive for perfection.
MS Dhoni, India’s most successful cricket captain is well on his way to be regarded as one of the greatest leaders the game has seen. In the past, people have attributed his success to luck, timing, good fortune and the likes. But on closer analysis of his success, we see a clear pattern emerging.
Dhoni dealt with his early success with a lot of maturity with his feet firmly on the ground, which eventually led to his elevation. It requires a great degree of level headedness and humility to handle fame and money at an early age. In a corporate context, early success need not lead to brash behavior towards colleagues and customers. We have seen that, at times, young managers who see success early lose their balance and face early career burnouts.
After the heady success of the World Cup 2011, it was just downhill for Dhoni and his team. After a string of embarrassing losses, it required great character and attitude to bounce back. He did this in style and answered all his critics with the sheer weight of his performance once again. In the workplace, failure has to be dealt with in the same fashion as success and one has to continue to be focused on the job at hand. Dhoni avoided the spotlight and would comfortably perch himself in a corner in post-match winner pictures.
14. Dream… Dream… Dream… because dreams do come true.
Indian batting icon Sachin Tendulkar waited for more than 20 years to achieve something which actually inspired him to play cricket in the first place. He had achieved everything he could possibly have. After the disastrous 2007 world cup he could’ve easily decided to retire but did he? No!
He gave himself another chance and guess what? He went on to achieve his long time dream.
In life we face challenges. There are days when everything works in our favour, things go according to plan. But is it always going to end like that? Obviously not. We should always remember that there will be days when things don’t go our way, but we shouldn’t be disheartened because there will be a new day tomorrow.
In case you weren’t sure what could be learned from a game of cricket, turns out there’s a lot you can take away. Next time you watch a match, see what else you can pick up on.