Thursday, April 05, 2007

Are big egos getting in the way of winning?

I am referring to the sub-continent nations of India and Pakistan whose more than one billion people are obsessed with cricket and have elevated their top players to a god-like status.

They prayed for their success in the present Cricket World Cup at the Caribbean and when Pakistan and India lost in the first round to relatively inexperienced teams and failed to advance to the second round, their cricket-crazy fans just went mad in mass grief.

Now the exercise of reflection, post-mortem and the blame game of finger pointing has started.

It seems the star status accorded to top players and the superstar salaries paid to them have placed them in an elite league. Their fanatical fan following has made them much sought-out commercial product ambassadors.

The weight of expectations to win is exceedingly high on these superstar players. They are expected to maintain a positive workplace, where both the senior and the junior players can bond and create a spirit of camaraderie that can enable everyone to perform to their full potential.

This has clearly not happened and now it is time for questions to be asked and answers to be given.

In his first press conference after his team returned to Pakistan, captain Inzamamul ul Haq hit back at local media and rejected swirling match-fixing claims after his team’s shock World Cup exit and the subsequent murder of coach Bob Woolmer.

Inzamam felt that he was unfairly blamed for the team's poor performance. Surprisingly, Inzamam also criticised the Kingston pitch, saying that it was not suited for a one-day match.

India's batting great Sachin Tendulkar who had a poor tournament went even further to say that India's cricketers would be most disappointed with Greg Chappell, the coach, if he questioned their attitude.

Senior players of both teams of Pakistan and India have failed to do their job. They were required to prepare for the world cup physically and mentally and they did not measure upto the task. It does not help to give lame excuses.

The modern game of cricket, both in its test and one-day form has been developed as an gigantic business venture. During the playing season players and their team managers adopt a nomadic lifestyle hopping from hotel to hotel.

There is no shortage of talent in Pakistan and India. The management of the teams need to create a fun and challenging environment. The players will have to cut out the distractions and commit themselves not just in word, but more importantly in deed and show a winning record that can prove the critics wrong.

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