Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Straight from the Captain!

It gives me great pleasure to upload the following.
This comes straight from Cleveland (MichCA team) captain (Ani) as he dwells on why we were able to win the championship.......
As sent by Ani on 10/13/2009 - 4:50 pm..

I have followed Suhail’s blog regularly, not just because he is a good friend and inherent part of the team, but more so to learn what his thoughts/comments on certain aspect of the game were. It gives me a good perspective of what may be going on in a teammates mind and pick up tips on what aspect of my leadership/game plan I could improve upon if certain things did or didn’t go our way. Obviously his well written blog also was great fun to read and reminisce upon a previous game/situation.

It is every players’ dream to “win”…no matter what sport, what occasion and at what level. There is however a fine line between a player and a champion. The latter plays the sport with correct temperament, discipline and more over not as an individual but as part of his/her TEAM!

I have the privilege of captaining a team of champions! It takes time to build such a team and develop such mentality. But it also takes an open mind and heart to change the mentality of “me” and “I” within oneself to “we” and “us”. This year playing for the second season in DivA MichCA 40 over championship we were able to bag the coveted tags of “champions” not just with our ability to play good cricket, but more because of our mentality of putting team first before ourselves. The support each one of us had for each other and the joy we got with someone else’s success is what stood out about us in my mind.

Looking at stats and scorecards from our season one will clearly see what the term “team effort” signifies. Almost every game saw a different player within the team put their hand up and brave out the battle at hand. My newly discovered philosophy of playing this game is “to be in the present rather than thinking about the next moment, over or game”. One ball at a time, one moment at a time…do not think about playing in a pre-determined way. Something I have learnt from my better half and I sincerely thank her for this teaching!

My second philosophy is “never think about the trophy, championship etc…just be humble on the field, identify our strengths as well as weaknesses…finally make sure we have more moments showing our strengths than ones demonstrating our weaknesses….victories will automatically line up one after another!

The above two comments are not methods but a mentality of how I think one should play any sport….at least this is how I played this season (I wish I would have learnt this early on in my cricket career). Some may disagree, some may have a different way of approaching the game. I believe that there is no “one correct way”…everyone can have correct ways as long as you believe in it. The way one handles themselves on the field, not just in a good situation but perhaps more importantly in challenging situations when our backs are against the wall speaks volumes for what is going on in one’s mind. If one reflects back at our season, barring 2 games during the season, each one of our games has required us to battle our way to victory. Each game has seen a player emerge into a champion! We have had games where frontline batsmen have taken us across the line, but we cannot forget those instances when our tail batted with fierce determination and saw us to safety. We also have had frontline bowlers demolish opponents with an exceptional spell, but we certainly cannot forget bowlers who put their hand up and delivered when all others had temporarily failed. We have also had a few take on wicket-keeper responsibilities due to necessity…and thereby realize a hidden capability.

A champion team rises to every occasion and challenge…but with the correct discipline and attitude. No one will remember what we won a few years from now, but everyone will remember how we played our game. Other teams in MichCA were desperate for us to win the championship vs FHCC…not because they are fans of our players, but moreover because we have earned their respect for being a fair and humble team.

It has indeed taken several years of developing a team that compliments each other in every aspect…Im not talking just batting/bowling/fielding here, but even in personalities and communication. If anyone thinks our team is easy to handle, please wake up. Our team has a good mix of light hearted vs serious characters, loud vs silent communicators, disciplined vs erratic behaviors…but all this goes unnoticed when each one of us unites on the field and behaves as “one team” rather than “eleven players.”

Congrats to each one of you on a season well played, on a trophy thoroughly deserved. I hope that this small success doesn’t develop over confidence and/or lack of desire for future cricket. Reaching the top is goal #1, but staying there is the ultimate goal!


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