The Master's Wisdom: Reading between the lines

Read Sachin Tendulkar’s recent interview. Overall, insightful, yet some contradictory views. A couple of questions in the long interview, in particular, caught my attention.

Here they are…

The team has gone in the right direction since then, under Sourav Ganguly.

I am a firm believer that it’s not about captaincy, but about how the team plays, how the individuals perform. If you are going to score 700 runs in Australia, you are going to be on top, but if you score only 220, obviously it will be a different story.

How would you interpret this? If I were to put words in his mouth, “I don’t think much of Ganguly as a captain” is what I think he is saying. Instead, “Things have fallen into place for him because the individuals in the team have performed well.” Clearly, this goes against conventional “leadership” theories. Given that Tendulkar is an all time great, and that this view of his is completely contrary to views from leadership gurus, it at least warrants some analysis. On the one hand, I think with age and maturity he has come to accept that its “all time and place” and does not believe in all this fuss about leadership and its transformational effects, at least not in cricket! On the other, one could argue that Sachin (deep down) is envious of Ganguly’s success as captain. He does not show it because he is also a down to earth gentleman at heart.

The other response that caught my attention…When asked about Dravid’s batting.

“I also think that wicket-keeping has helped. When you’re keeping you are watching the ball all the time, and you are watching the game from where the action is taking place. I feel that angle helps.”

This is very insightful indeed. I have never heard anyone say this. On the other hand, we have had no shortage of former stars complaining that Dravid should not keep, his batting will be affected etc. Given the kind of transformation Dravid’s batting has undergone in the last few years, its quite possible that there is a lot of truth in his view on this topic.

Ironically, this comment undermines Sachin’s earlier view on captaincy because Dravid would never have taken on the keeping role but for his captain. Dravid’s success in batting has played a huge role in India’s success. So clearly, Ganguly deserves a significant share of the credit for this (among score of other things), because he has shouldered all the blame and criticism for forcing Dravid to keep! In other words, Ganguly’s leadership clearly has had a lot to do with India’s success and its not just about players in the team performing.

This interview re-inforces the fact that despite his superstardom, Sachin is still very “human” and has dreams and aspirations, like most normal people (which I personally think is wonderful). I dare say that Sachin still has a strong interest in captaining the Indian team. On the other hand, he is too fine (I am tempted to say “super”) a human being to be obnoxious, or vocal about it. Observing his public persona over the years, one can be rest assured that if captaincy were never to return to him, when his final match comes about, he will walk away into the sunset with an unfulfilled heart, but no tantrums whatsoever.





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