Sachin’s captaincy dilemma
Many people have wondered as to why Tendulkar did not put Pollard on the crease before. Pollard came just at the last few moments when there was too much to be done in too less a time. What were we expecting, ? or what did tendulkar want from Pollard? – to do a magic of scoring so many in so less balls?!
Well, this is one captaincy decision I would want to put to diagnosis at this hour. What could have been the strategy of Tendulkar for holding back Pollard for so long a time? Was he working on ‘Saving the best for the last’? Well, I maintain that it was not a wrong philosophy given the chronic Indian problem of seeing the departure of entire batting order once the star batsman is scalped. Tendulkar had a wrist injury before the match and was quite unfit for the game. However he did make his appearance, perhaps under tremendous pressure from his fan and the media and his club owners.
This entire saga of calling upon Sachin to play it on again did what the entire Indian team has been suffering for so long a time. Made *him* the star member of his team. This might have, at least, psychologically dwarfed the thoughtfulness of the rest of the members besides diminishing their performance. Tendulkar knew it was the Big Match. And there must been tremendous pressure all over.
Taking lessons from the past, may be it was not a wrong strategy to hold back Pollard for as long as the captain could so that the former could extract the maximum out of the other batsmen he had. Weakness of pollard is quite obvious,- that of succumbing to spinners. Chennai Super Kings never had dearth of good spinners- Muthaih Murlidharan and R Ashwin. Sending pollard early had a good chance of dooming the maximum output of one good reliable performer for almost nothing. U never know when these spinner would have castled him out.
So the Idea, it appears to me, was to use the skill of other batsmen to wear out the overs-count of these spinner while getting the maximum exacted from them, before putting Pollard on job to finish the end work. In the light of these points, the strategy was revolving around saving the wicket –which automatically meant consuming away the spinners’ spell.
What did not work correct in the above is the performance of rest of the batsmen who were suppose to consume away these overs while also scoring acceptable runs in between. There seemed to be less motivation and more pressure on them. This started from the point that they had conceded a little too many runs in the last half of the opponent’s batting. The morale must have gone low.
Matches of these high order are just not about luck and chance, and inferior skills at all. They are more about the anxiety problem- of delivering the high performance against the high stresses and pressure. The players all were highly skilled which is why they could reach to the finals. But what made the deliverance in the finals low is the question I am trying to diagnose.
What was required of them to keep the pressure low? A batman’s grip on the handle of his bat is just not about his habit of holding it. The power the bat wields comes from the state of mind the batsman is in. The shots begins to go weak when the state of mind is low.
Tendulkar’s captaincy has shown this trouble many times in the past, when he was leading the Indian squad. Perhaps the behaviour of him versus many other truly well-achieving captains, which would include Dhoni also in the list, can show some underlying reasons for this trouble. Perhaps his god-like image in Indian masses and media is what is making the difference. And perhaps how he views himself among all this respect and reverence is what we need to search out.
Communication, in my opinion, would be holding key to how the psychology would be rolling making all that difference between the winner and the loser. How is Tendulkar’s sense of humor.? How easy and lose is his day today talk. Does he talk and abuse the way a normal person does in his day today life? Does he blabber and chatter and curses like the way we do? Does the message go correct in a low-pressured psyche from his mouth and tone like it happens from other captains.
One problem of Mr Arun Govil who played the role of Lord Ram is the famous tele serial of yesteryears , Ramayan, was that even in his day today life he was expected to be as pious and good natured, well spoken as was the character he was playing on screen. In fact in the real story also Lord Ram has lost out his wife to a second vanprasth for a no good reason of fulfilling a dhobi’s interrogation. In return, Krishna has been quite a better achiever with all that hooky-poky acts of him and those theories which we today know as the Bhagvad Gita.
The adrenaline begins of subside away on hearing the story of Lord Ram as against hearing about Lord Krishna.
Given these subtle difference, may I suggest that Tendulakar should re-assign himself as an advisor to the captain than thinking of leading himself. The dirtiness and mean-ness of the captain goes some good measure to confirm to us that he is as common, and one amongst us to say or suggest something extra ordinary. He proves his high standards by his bat not by his extra-gentle nature.