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Missing a bit of chilli…

For those of us brought up on it, sri lankan curry remains a staple of our diet. To those of us living in shores beyond our motherland, it is the stuff of our dreams. When you visit any new place, one of the first things we inquire or google for is a place for us to have a real spicy dish. Not american spicy but real spicy.  Frankly the main ingredient doesnt matter, whether its a meat or a vegetable, as long as we get the hodda right. To get it right you need the correct mix of the different spices,be it kaha, tuna paha, karapincha or rampe. Now i am not a culinary expert but even I know that you need a bit of chilli to get the curry right. Sometimes i think that it is also what that is missing from our cricket team.

Over the last few years, ape kollo has done all right. In the limited over formats they have been actually pretty great but for the failures at the last hurdle. There are probably lot of reasons for that but one part of it, I feel, is the lack of arrogance, the mixture of hotheadedness and spite. Our fellows seem almost too rational, too accepting of conventional wisdom or political correctness. They do not convey a sense that they believe they are masters of their destiny or the superiors to any foe. We dont seem to believe that we could beat anyone on any given darn day, not just the days we play well. I remember Chris Gayle crowing about winning the world cup before the last finals and I thought it remiss that no one from our side said anything. Now sometimes we might think this is just a lot of hot air but words have meaning, they have power and they are a powerful tool for motivation or demotivation. In the rarefild environs of the pinnacles in sport, mindset of the players play a huge role in determining the victor and loser.

I think that this is particularly pertinent right now when i hear all this hoopla about playing in the MCG or SCG. We seem almost too grateful that we got this opportunity to play on these grounds when I think the attitude should be that MCG or SCG should feel glad that we are playing there. The moment you think its an honour to play there, you are mentailly conditioning yourself to just playing right or putting up a good fight. The honour would be in kicking aussie backsides till they forget which ground they are playing in. We are not going there to participate but to win. Then there is the issue of ball tampering allegations. Our guys seem to have got browbeaten by the australian media and others into a state where we are apologising for even bringing it up. How dare the little sri lankans even think of believing what they see. Now we hear from others who really know better about how common ball tampering is . I am in two minds whether we should have made an official complaint but we should not certainly sound like apologising for bringing it up.  Why should the team feel scared of a bunch of pencil pushers who are just a tad bit better in english than we are and what does it say about our fighting spirit.

In management, impact of leadership on organisations is a paricularly interesting area of research and we use leadership archetypes to give structure to our understanding. One common archetype is the transformational leader, one who inspires followers towards a singular vision providing them confidence and belief. Now Mahela is a tactical expert in cricket but I feel that he is bit lacking in providing inspiration. It could be that it is difficult to inspire when you are rational or to inspire in a zero sum game when you are too nice. The whole team seems to have drawn their cue from him and seems almost too polite to exude conficence. I hate Ganguly the prince of Kolkata, Dhoni the chosen one and the too cool Kohli but deep down i respect them. Indian team over the last few years gave you the image that they believe they will win anytime you walk into the cricket pitch especially in the limited over formats. Remember Imran Khan or our own captain cool. They all had that arrogance, the belief, the bloody mindedness. On the flip side, Fleming, Mark Taylor or Strauss, all of whom did well as captains, doesnt come across as being particularly arrogant. Perhaps it is a subcontinental cultural thing that we reach our peaks when being lead by a hot one whereas other countries depend more on right processes.

Now arrogance can make you look like downright foolish sometimes but it could also get you over the hump quite a few times.One could argue that there is a time and a place for arrogance but I feel that the time you really need it is when you are being most challenged. The world cup finals and a tour to the australia certainly meets that criteria. Heres to hoping that Mahela and the lads eat a bit of chilli laden curry and lets out the steam in the middle of the pitch at the MCG.

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