Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Michael Atherton on India's World Cup win

The hysterical coverage of India's recent World Cup cricket win is redeemed by former England cricketer Michael Atherton's lyrical account. Some excerpts:

The greatest innings ever played by a captain in a World Cup final was Clive Lloyd's monumental hundred against Australia at Lord's in the inaugural tournament in 1975 and if this was not its equal then it was not far behind.

Lloyd was in Mumbai in his role as chairman of the ICC's Cricket Committee and as Dhoni past him on the stage to collect his man of the match award, the West Indian would have recognised a fellow traveller.

Nobody, except Sachin Tendulkar, has been under more scrutiny. Every decision, every move, every statement has been pored over by an army of writers and pundits. After the defeat against South Africa, Dhoni criticised his batsmen for playing to the gallery rather than for the team and it was as if he had tossed a meaty bone to the most voracious pack of jackals imaginable ... they gnawed on this juicy offering for days to come.

The question throughout was not whether India had the talent to win the World Cup but whether they had the men to do it. Could they cope with the round-the-clock scrutiny, the suffocating, all encompassing demands of public for whom anything other than the ultimate victory would have been unacceptable. In short, did they have the bottle?

They had it all right _ whole jeroboams of it _ and, on a magnificent and moving night in Mumbai which sealed the glorious career of one modern master whilst bringing down the curtain on another, nobody embodied this strength of mind and character more than their captain Dhoni. His calmness throughout has been a key factor in enabling this team to reach its potential.

1 comment:

gaddeswarup said...

Atherton also says "This was a triumph of leadership, pure and simple." I do not see any problem if some want to see management lessons in this. For me, the more interesting point is the popularity of cricket and how it replaced hockey. There seem to be a number of academic studies as mentioned in http://www.ipcs.org/pdf_file/issue/560458831IPCS-ResearchPaper9-EmilyCrick.pdf
Even more interesting would be to study whether it has lessons for other enterprises. There was a study by Anirudha Krishna and Eric Haglund "Why do Some Countries Win More Olympic Medals? Lessons for Social Mobilty and Poverty Reduction"
which studies the lack of Indian success in Olympic medals and Nobel prizes in terms of what they call 'effectively participating populations'.