Friday, April 29, 2016
Sunday, April 24, 2016
Friday, April 15, 2016
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
When we rise above our insecurities, when we overcome the limitations our minds holds us within, at such times we do things that make us feel good about ourselves.
As I approached the squash court today, I made a commitment to myself that I would attempt to break out of the 'giving up' mindset I had slipped into in the last few weeks. Either I would lose close matches or not even attempt a fightback in those ones in which I had lost early advantage.
This meant I was scrambling for a solitary win in a set of five games or giving up after 4 matches.
So today I took the fight to the competition from the word go. I won the first game. I fought hard right from the start putting my everything into preventing a recovery by my dogged opponent. The next match I lost despite an advantage early in the game. However a late comeback and a tight finish was a consolation that I hadn't succumbed easily.
At this point we took a break. Refreshed, I returned to take the next game easily. Usually we continue straight into game four but this time I requested for a break. I knew my opponent had far better stamina than me and typically beat me in the fourth by the end of which I hadn't any energy left for the fifth. Today by taking the break I wanted to be in a better position to win the fourth and thereby the match.
The plan worked. I won the fourth and therefore the match 3-1 but I still had the fifth match to play if I wished but without the break which I had already consumed. I decided that despite the fact I was tired I would not merely play it but try and win it as though it was the decider.
It was among the toughest match I had ever played. It see-sawed wildly and had so many rallies that I was dog-tired midway through it. I was folding up and barely able to lift my racket.
I took a lead and was 12-9 ahead. But my adversary played incredibly to equalize. My mind was numb and swirling. It was telling me to give up this inconsequential match. But somewhere deep inside me I heard a voice egging me on to win. My opponent went ahead and made it 12-13.
I fought hard and equalized. Then I won the next point. Game point!
To my horror my opponent was in no mood to relent. He made it 14-all. One point for either to win. It was that close.
I stepped out moments later. I had set myself a victory margin of 4-1 and I had done it.
A great feeling indeed.
Saturday, April 2, 2016
A few days back an interesting conversation between Harsha Bhogle and Shane Warne shed light on why the Indian team is unable to get beyond the semi finals in recent major tournaments.
Harsha Bhogle began talking about the inevitability of fate and a 'sense of what lay ahead', while Shane Warne spoke with clarity on the fact that when there's a target to get or batsmen to get out, someone has to go out and do it. In an regular match sometimes a individual does it, however in a tournament especially a major one it becomes difficult for one or two players to do so match after match. It requires the entire team to play consistently well, to win such tournaments. Which is lacking in the Indian team.
Save for Virat, Nehra and a couple of others, the Indian team has been carrying a bunch of under performers for some time now. In crucial situations these under performers fail the team and drag down India's chances especially against quality opposition who India encounter in semifinal situations.
How do under performers make it to the team? Why are they retained? And why weren't they there earlier?
The answer to this is the curious aura of the 'cult leader'.
Let's examine the leadership path of Dhoni. His greatest phase was between 2007-11. In this time he won everything even the IPL trophy. Then in the phase 2012-2016 he lost most major tournaments in the semi/final stage. Actually he didn't lose it. His team lost it.
In the first phase he inherited a team full of seniors. His choices to change them were limited and he hadn't the ego to change them so channelled the seniors and juniors to perform at their best. It was a great team and ensured victory.
But in India we gave Dhoni total credit believing he can make any team successful. Perhaps he thought the same.
Now Dhoni began to select the team of his choice. This had players loyal to him and players he believed brought him luck. This caused the early exit of some key seniors. But the nation backed him.
Dhoni succumbed to the cult of the absolute leader who believed that he could win any match with the team he chose. He ignored the failures of key players and continued with them. He refused to bring in better players who sat on the sidelines.
This is why India and CSK would consistently lose at the knockout stages of major tournaments.
A leader is only as good as his team. The moment a team is chosen on the basis of loyalty or superstition it undermines its own chances of victory.