Follow Your Heart. Lead Your Mind. You'll find a window everywhere.

Friday, August 28, 2015

How to learn from own mistake and excel: Steve Smith simplified

Admitting mistakes and accepting mistakes are not same. Practically, an admission means nothing without an acceptance. That's why, most of the criminals remain criminals; most of the politicians remain politicians; most of corporate executives remain corporate executives.

However, such an acceptance is not possible unless one has that (open) mind to understand you can only learn from your mistakes if you realise the mistake and regret it rather shamefully.

Basically, minus that shame, no learning is possible, and without learning, earning is possible, but excellence is impossible.

And greatness lies in excellence, not in earning. Hence, whoever wants to be great, tries to excel, responsibly.

After getting dismissed, cheaply, in both the innings at Trent Bridge, Steven Smith aka Steve Smith felt that shame, as he had bothered to realise his mistakes, as precisely as possible. 

For that, he accepted his limitations and was quite open to admit: "I think if you look at the way England play over here, all of their bowlers swing the ball both ways. It makes it a lot harder to bat against when the ball is swinging both ways. I think when you've got the ball swinging both ways you can get drawn into balls that perhaps you wouldn't play at back home or if the ball is swinging just the one way.

"At Trent Bridge I didn't face too many balls, so I wasn't able to get myself in. First innings I got a reasonable ball and looking back I could have left it on length, more than anything. Second innings I just hit a half-volley straight to the man at cover-point there, where they were trying to get me. Pretty disappointing not to have been able to get myself in in the last two Test matches."     

His assessment about his own faults and follies was right on the money, as shown in the following four pictures: 

In the first innings, he was squared up instead of remaining side-on thus couldn't deal with the delivery that was seaming away from him. And in the second innings, he was drawn into a half-volley away from his body, which he latched onto and played early in front of him, but not below his eyes, thus couldn't keep it down. Plus, the back-heel remained rooted to the ground that didn't help the transfer of weight onto the front-foot. 

Then came the Oval test, where he completed his 11th century with all poise, as well as poignancy of losing the urn and the Ashes to England in the previous test only.  

Despite the pensive mood, Smith showed the prudence of his class to excel all through his innings before getting out thanks to an inside edge, while he was squared up once again to play a predetermined shot in order the accelerate the run accumulation.

Save for one occasion, while he was on 71 and tried to lift the ball straight up over the bowler's head to dash, Steve's entire innings was flawless and fluent, clearly sending the message across that he learned from his mistakes and therefore wouldn't commit the same mistake again. 

He remained side-on, was eager to wait for the ball, and kept playing as late as possible, having the ball right below his eyes. 

He was in total command and control on the front-foot and on the back-foot by letting his head remain on top of the ball. 

His shuffling was calculative and decisive, while he kept cutting the ball, even exposing all three stumps.   


While the English bowlers tried to bowl wide half-volleys outside the off-stump, unlike what he did at Trent Bride, at Oval, Smith kept reaching out for the ball sideways, but noway in front of him, meeting the ball right below his eyes. 

That spoke volumes of his cricketing sense which has so far been the basis of his class and excellence. 

After all, Steve Smith proved it once again at Oval: "Class is permanent because it's a commitment not to commit the same mistake twice." 


PS: In a condition, where the ball swings both ways and the wickets are conducive to seam bowling, to adjust to that, Smith may practice on a coir-matting wicket and, in a match, may only keep playing for only inswingers and off-cutters, initially, so as to reduce the percentage of an outside edge, considerably. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Steve Smith's class is his cognitive ability of doing great, responsibly.

Considering cricket is just a number game is definitely odd. But, when a leg-spinner, who used to bat a bit, turned a No.3 batsman scores 215 at Lord's in the Ashes against a formidable English bowling attack, of course you are bound to sit and watch, rather look into the numbers.

More so, just in case you know how to weed flukes of gold out of flakes of silver. And then you get convinced that no magic or miracle in the world can help a 26+ cricketer, constantly, to pile up 2653 runs in 56 innings off 29 tests with 9 hundreds and 11 fifties and an average of 55.27... excluding the lavishness of batting which has taken place at the Mecca of cricket. 

Hail the great (in making), Steven Smith of Australia, whose greatness is his 'cognitive ability' leading to 'commosense' which he exploits like anything to manipulate his technique in accordance with a situation.

Call it temperament, talent or smartness that he was born with to overcome his own shortcomings in order to outsmart any bowler in the world for that matter.

In the first test at Cardiff, in the first innings Smith threw his wicket away, while in the second innings, he was outfoxed and dismissed, for which, his technical fault was more responsible than the bowler's mastery. 

He stayed rooted to the crease with the heel of his back-foot outside the leg-stump and offered literally a no-shot but just a half-cock prod with a tight-bottom-hand to get himself caught behind in the second slip where Bell took a comfortable catch to complete the formality. 

Perhaps that was THE wicket, England was looking for to make inroads into the Aussie batting to win the test, eventually. 

As "greatness comes with greater responsibility", it won't be too much of a speculation to guess that the loss hurt Smith badly. 

So, little surprise an all new Steve came out to bat at Lord's who was not only decisive on his feet but also at his cunning best to make all the English bowlers bowl exactly where he wanted them to bowl.

He began to shuffle across to deny the pace cum seam brigade of England of a good view of his off-stump. 

As a result, he did two things: 1) He started to come closer to the outgoing deliveries and 2) He made bowlers try different things like bowling short; bowling round the wicket; or bowling into him onto his pads.

Plus, straightway, he was dancing down the crease against Moeen Ali, making the off-spinner bowl short or the drifter at the cost of nagging loops in the air.

However, it's to be noted, while playing Ali (look at the third picture from the top), Smith was not shuffling across to free his arms to play the horizontal shots at will. 


Yes, he was dropped once, while he couldn't shuffle across properly to close the angle of the ball leaving him, by Bell who failed to bring his fingers underneath the ball to hold onto a difficult chance, but that noway undermines Smith's smartness with the willow. 

In short, not everyone can become a Steven Smith just by scoring runs; however, a Steve Smith becomes only when a cricketer applies his brain over his brawn because cricket is a mind-game after all that makes greats who carry the legacy of this great game forward... responsibly.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Has Cricket Association of Nepal understood the BAT FOR NEPAL campaign?

Tourism which constitutes about 5% of Nepal's GDP would largely be affected by the destruction of earthquake.

Notwithstanding the bullish hope and high-decibel proclamation that Nepal is still a safe country for international tourists, the grim scenario is unlikely to change, soon. At least not in the next 2-3 years, if not more.

With an estimated economic loss of up to $10 billion, what may also exceed the entire GDP, the future of Nepal is literally dependent on remittance. 

However that too easier said than done because exodus, mostly in the form of evacuation, only adds to the tally of refugees and refugees are hardly considered as a workforce of worth to help remittance. 

So, the situation of Nepal is quite bad and might become worse to worst unless its government understands the importance of macro economics and internationalism over nationalism. 

To initiate the change towards a productive future, the first thing the Government of Nepal needs to realise that it needs international currencies and it has a good product to sell in the global market and that is: Cricket.

But how?

If the Government is clueless, the onus is on Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) to become proactive and aggressive to make the Government take the necessary steps towards doing the needful without any delay. 

For that, first and foremost CAN must comprehend its role in Nepal, as well as in the world of cricket. 

It has to leverage cricket for Nepal and then Nepal for cricket, so that the development cycle continues... with cricket, for cricket, by cricket. 

Therefore, limiting the scope of the BAT FOR NEPAL campaign only to a project of playing some fund raising matches, it cannot do justice to the big picture drawn by the vision: WE CAN RISE.

My point is, while I created the BAT FOR NEPAL idea, not for once I meant it should be limited to just a one-off project. 

Fund Raising Matches are definitely an integral part of the said campaign but the ultimate goal is to BAT FOR NEPAL in order to make cricket CFL: Cricket FOR LIVES, so WE CAN RISE, globally, through inclusive growth. 

Simply put, the global community of cricket should not only help CAN raise funds for Nepal but also hold CAN responsible and accountable for how those funds are used for the development of lives and cricket in Nepal and outside. 

BAT FOR NEPAL should not to be misconstrued as event management but, on the contrary, the campaign should be developed and evolved, as a movement or mission, in such a way that it instruments a sports economy in Nepal to boost infrastructure, minus which Nepal's main business i.e. tourism will not come back on track.

It's certainly an excellent gesture of humanity on part of MCA: Malaysian Cricket Association that extends its support to CAN for a Nepal v/s World XI Fund Raising Match at Kinrara Oval - Malaysia to BAT FOR NEPAL. However, the mnemonic -- though done quite creatively -- defeats the purpose of BAT FOR NEPAL campaign. 

The piece of marketing communications gives the impression, as if the campaign BAT FOR NEPAL falls under the Nepal Earthquake Fund Raising Match whereas the actual case is just the other way round. 

Plus, if you call a match "Nepal Earthquake Fund Raising Match", it's not a right expression. For the match is not going to be played to raise funds for Nepal Earthquake i.e. to sponsor or support the earthquake that took place. 

Also, the visual treatment is not communicating any positivity or hope in terms of relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction. It rather presents, as if the earthquake is greater than the development possibility which cricket can create emoting one to BAT FOR NEPAL. 

Below is a comparison between two mnemonics of BAT FOR NEPAL that sure is to help CAN understand what needs to be done henceforth and why so:     

In simple words, cricket is more of a business than a sport, hence, Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) can't afford to compromise on marketing communications for less or loss.     

Thursday, May 7, 2015

If ICC makes Cricket 'inclusive', WE CAN RISE with Nepal.

"An earthquake lasts only minutes. But in the rubble of the buildings it destroys lie hopes and plans as well as lives. Nepal will need our support for years to come."

Nothing could have explained an earthquake and how it affects lives better than the abovementioned words published in the editorial of theguardian

On the contrary, the bottom-line is simple: "We always need to support each other because every support is an investment -- even if offered as a donation -- which eventually pays us back with interest."

In fact, we must not overlook the flow of destruction that generally takes place owing to an earthquake.

The flow clearly suggests:

Earthquakes destroy buildings first and then buildings destroy lives.  

So, it's foolish to hold only nature responsible for calamities or disasters while, in most of the cases, natural calamities wreak havoc due to poor economic policies.

Therefore, obvious humanity notwithstanding, the global community should take support and aid to Nepal into account rather sincerely from an economic point of view and then react to the situation through proper actions without confusing reaction with action and momentum with movement.

In light of that, what else but cricket could be a better investment -- which is not only a sport but also a reason for existence to the people of Nepal!

Just the reason, it's time for Intentional Cricket Council (ICC) to make cricket inclusive in line with their promise: "Great Sport, Great Spirit" -- so as to help the world know how cricket can develop sports economy and thereby make the reconstruction of Nepal possible off the rubble with sustainable funding.

In that movement, Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) has to play the role of a pioneer -- instead of twiddling thumbs -- to take its first ever step towards becoming an autonomous body to govern cricket in Nepal for Nepal, independently, minus bureaucratic intervention and rabbit hole administration and governance that hardly help but hinder development by reducing the scope of innovation for the future. 

To cut the long story short, we need to understand that WE CAN RISE together with inclusive growth over exclusive privileges of mediocrity, hence, we must BAT FOR NEPAL to make cricket a global sport in real sense, while cricket would be recognised as CFL: CRICKET FOR LIVES.

How to do that, below is the presentation -- indicative enough but not be-all and end-all -- what I have already shared with ICC, seeking Mr. David Richardson's kind attention, and with Ms. Bhawana Ghimire - CEO, CAN - who is always game for new ideas; open and pragmatic to ask for an advice; always keen to learn; and indulges in innovation and development despite the hostility and cold shoulder she has to face often at CAN, probably because she means business beyond busyness. 

Last but not the least, it's heartening to witness, thanks to Bhawana and her proactive attitude, Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) has taken two prudent steps complementing WE CAN RISE and BAT FOR NEPAL missions to set the ball rolling.