Being an ardent fan of cricket and coming from the country where cricket is considered to be a religion, it is hard to digest the fact that India won’t be playing the World Cup final, 2019.
After reflecting for like almost 5 hours post the defeat, there are a few things which made me ponder about the way sports teaches us a few life long lessons. So, let me try my best to point out a few facts which really will leave an indelible imprint on our mind once your read it. (as it has done to me)
1.) The toss: As per the norm, whoever won the toss this World Cup opted to bat first this season (because of the uncertainty of the weather), and more than half of the times the side batting first have won the match. So, in a way, half of the game was decided on the moment of the toss, which reminds me of the famous quote by Sun Tzu from the Art of War, “Every battle is Won or Lost Before it is ever fought.”
Similarly, there are certain events in life which will decide the course we will take for the rest of our life, factors on which we have no control, factors which are external and still are crucial as they will play a significant role. So, is it implied that we should sit down and wee about the external factors not working in our favor? NO! Period. Look at how India bowled in the first ten overs.
2.) The powerplays: I always get pissed off when someone asks me the question in an interview, “So Deep, where do you see yourself in 10 years?” because I look at future from a very different perspective. I strongly believe in the fact that what/who you will be in the next ten years will be an amalgamation of the efforts that are put in year after year.
Which bring me to the concept of powerplays, the first powerplay of the New Zealand innings belonged to India as the seamers bowled their heart out. But, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor ensured that the next powerplay belonged to them which made India question about their tactics which they deployed.
Similarly, life is all about playing good in powerplays(2–3 years period) rather than eying for a very long term goal, which seems more like a wish without a solid plan.
3.) Holding onto your nerves: At 5–3, Rishab Pant and Hardik Pandya had a great chance to showcase that they are more than just T-20 players who can slog the bowl out of the ground. They did get a good start as well but were unable to capitalize on that, thanks to the consistency of Mitchell Santner.
Like the tempting full-length delivery which got the better of Pant and Hardik, there will be many tempting situations in life where you will think of scoring big as if that one shot is going to complete the match for you. Here is when holding onto your nerves by anticipating the situation comes into the picture. One can only become sensible by getting accolades once he/she becomes a hero or getting criticized for the same by not responding according to the need of the hour.
4.) The importance of mentoring and self-belief: At 92–6, India were down and out of the game well before everyone thought, but there was one man who yet again was carrying the belief of 133.92 crore Indians, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. On the other end was someone who was criticized very much recently owing to a bad patch in his cricketing career, Sir Ravindra Jadeja. From 92–6 to 208–6, the combo which worked for India was the mentoring of MS Dhoni and the self-belief of Ravindra Jadeja.
I possibly run out of words by emphasizing on the importance of having a mentor (guru) which guides you towards achieving your goal, someone who makes you believe in yourself when you are down and under, someone who brings the best out of you, and someone who makes you unleash the potential which you didn’t know about. Just like Guru Dronacharya helped Arjun unleash his potential making him arguably the best archer in the world, it is vital to having someone who guides you in becoming the best version of yourself.
5.) The last mile is always the toughest: No one, literally no one thought that after 92–6, India will ever get close to 200 and be within touching distance of victory. You ask any sprinter; you ask any marathon runner; you ask any Agile software developer; they will feel the pressure in the last phase of their work.
Something similar happened with India today in the semi-finals. After showing such high tenacity they finally fell short of the target by a mere margin of 18 runs which is equivalent to three big hits out of the ground. Cause, after all, it’s THE LAST MILE WHICH IS ALWAYS THE TOUGHEST.
6.) A rough patch at a crucial stage and you are done and dusted: The captain of the Indian cricket team, Virat Kohli, in his post-match presentation talked about the 45 minutes of substandard cricket which the team played in the whole tournament which eventually cost them a place in the finals.
Life is pretty much the same, one rough patch at a crucial period and you are out, you are so done that you will never get a second chance to prove your mettle, you are so out that no one will remember what you have achieved till date or what a stellar performer you have been throughout your life.
Which brings me back to point #2, LIFE IS ALL ABOUT PLAYING IN THE POWERPLAYS, because A ROUGH PATCH AT A CRUCIAL STAGE AND YOU ARE DONE AND DUSTED.
7.) The difference between a win and a loss is of a few inches: Nothing, and I mean nothing hurts more than seeing your childhood heroes cry and depart on the biggest stage of the game, showing that they were not able to live up to the expectations of the nation. Something similar happened with MS Dhoni today when he fell short by 2 inches to make his ground and was declared run-out.
Similarly, most of the victories and defeats in life will also come down to small margins which we’ll not be able to make up (provided you have given your 100% in achieving that task, and if the margins are too large, then you haven’t even tried in the first place) and that will be the most disheartening thing.
I’m pretty sure that Hardik and Pant would be sitting in the room and still pondering on that fact that WHAT IF they would not have thrown their wicket playing an irresponsible shot. What if they would have hit three sixes before throwing their wicket, cause if they would have thought this while they were on the pitch, then probably India would have been in the finals. Probably India would be the one lifting the trophy, probably MSD would be the one hitting the final ball of his career out of the park and helping India lift the World Cup again, probably the name of Rohit Sharma would be written in the history books as the first player who scored five centuries (could have been six if he would have played the finals) and helped his team lift the World Cup. Probably, 133.92 crore people would be living their dream again of seeing their heroes come back with the biggest price of the cricketing world. Perhaps, I would have been not writing on this topic and would be writing about the heroics of team India and their World Cup triumph.