Friday, September 24, 2010

Destructive elements...

As the famous saying goes, "It takes a lot to build something". If you are talking about intangible elements such as team spirit or unity or attitude, it takes an awful lot of time and pain to get to a point where you can look back and feel that you have come a long way.

Especially, the art of building the team spirit or unity within an IPL team is highly difficult because players from different parts of the world come together for about six weeks every year and play. A team member has to understand awful lots about his mates to enjoy the dressing room atmosphere, which is one of the important aspects of a successful team, be it any team sport.

Chennai Super Kings, owned by India Cements who have been promoting cricket for decades, was one of the teams that believed in collectiveness, unity and fair play. Fittingly CSK successfully bought MS Dhoni in the auction; a true leader whose vision of a team coincided exactly with his franchisee owner. And the team building started...

CSK is the most successful team, having reached the knockout stage of all three editions of IPL and the second edition of champions league. This was possible only because of the ethics and the atmosphere within the dressing room that the team was able to create. This unity and spirit helped Suresh Raina to express himself freely in IPL 1. A star was born...

The attitude the team were developing helped lesser known players such as Murali Vijay, Badri and R Ashwin to flourish. There was no silly fights; no attitude problems; team played as a unit; the team won a lot of games together; lost a few together and the skipper was always there at difficult times. The fans were behind them all the time. Even the players who were not in the regular playing eleven were experiencing the sense of belonging. This was possible only because of the way CSK approached the exercise of effective team building. It takes a lot of time, energy, strategy to achieve this. CSK even showed their kindness to Muralitharan by presenting him a shirt with 800 printed on its back.

Mumbai Indians realised the potential of a effective team building strategies and so they heavily invested on young players, conducted confluence camps and tried to gel the players as a single focused unit. The result of that effort was clearly seen in IPL 3. But for some tactical errors in the finals, they could have won the tournament.

In both Chennai and Mumbai, the team currently has an identity only based on its players. If the players are replaced by a new set, it wouldn't look correct from the fans' prospective. It would be like some other team playing in CSK or MI colours.

And now, just because a couple of new teams have entered into the money market, the IPL governing council want to reshuffle the composition of all the teams. The player retention policy does not encourage retaining players either. Now, what happens to the team building effort that was put forward by all the teams, especially CSK and MI ? How strange would it be, if Sachin plays for KKR next season just because SRK has some money to splash? Are we still taking about cricket? IPL is a business, agreed. But, there has to be a limit. You cannot dismantle a team just like that. Or can you ?

Obviously CSK and MI are the only teams that are pleading for player retention. The other teams don't seem to bother much. Why would they ? Do they really understand team building ? or at least cricket, for that matter? All they want is some popular eleven to take the field and they think that the fans would pay money to watch. How ridiculous ? This is exactly what happens when liquor barons, big screen heroes and glamour queens own a cricket team.

On top of all this, there is one IPL governing council. How many destructive elements can this sacred game fight ?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The common wealth

Seven years after winning the bid for hosting one of the most prestigious events, Delhi is still lagging behind in terms of preparation. With just a few more weeks to go for the grand kick off, the construction for most of the facilities are not yet complete.

Most stadiums are under heaps of dust, building materials all over the place and workers still scurrying around. The monsoon in Delhi at the moment is not helping either. The Common wealth games is a fantastic opportunity to project Delhi’s (in effect India’s) image to the world. Ideally, it should be a show of strength and supremacy that the country is so proud of.

“Everything will fall into place at the right time just like Indian weddings” the officials say. A typical irresponsible statement from the people who are in charge of things that are not supposed to happen. At this stage, one can only pray that the country is not humiliated for hosting such a prestigious event, which could potentially make Delhi visible all over the world.

Not just the delay in preparation, the most worrying aspect is the budget. All the venues overshot with a huge margin. Mostly due to poor planning, inflated bills and expenses that never really occurred. It is alleged that a toilet roll was procured at four thousand rupees. Four thousand?? Yeah, imagine how important they are!!

Especially after Beijing has shown its power in 2008 Olympics, it would be a shame if India fails badly in hosting the upcoming event. At the moment, people involved in organising the events are accused of corruption.

But, who cares? The money is only “Common Wealth”, right? Hmmm….