Cricket is not just a game in India, but a religion. A true Cricket fan in India, no matter how busy he is, will make sure to free himself up and make time to catch the upcoming big match. However, it isn’t just a mere visual delight. It offers us umpteen things to learn from, and one of them is leadership qualities, which are not just displayed by the captain, but at times, by other team members as well.
Here are a few lessons about leadership from some of our most famous Cricket pros.
- Boost team morale by motivating them
Winning a match is impossible sans confidence. But it’s not just the leader who needs to stay confident but the team members as well. Appreciation is the key to boosting morale. For this, take a cue from our present Indian Cricket Captain, MS Dhoni, who never gets mad at his team members in public, nor shouts or glares at them if they lose a catch or miss a wicket. Cricket commentator Charu Sharma observed that “Dhoni often smiles and jokes on the field, which is really refreshing.” In addition to that, Dhoni leaves no stone unturned when it comes to motivating the players. Not only does he appreciate them, but he also believes strongly in their capabilities, which in turn motivates them. During the ICC Champions trophy Final 2013, Dhoni asked Ishant Sharma to bowl, despite his poor performance in the previous overs, and what happened next is forever inked in history. Ishan went on to take 2 incredibly crucial wickets which led to India’s victory.
- Learn to accept failure
There are only a handfuls of cricketers who accepted failure with grace. One such cricketer is Sachin Tendulkar. During his long, golden tenure, Tendulkar had encountered failure umpteen times. One such time was during his short stint at captaincy. He was selected as a captain twice. Once in 1996, he took over as a skipper, but by 1997 he was dropped from that position. His second tenure also proved to be disastrous, so he resigned and handed the captaincy to Sourav Ganguly. However, Tendulkar’s stepping aside gracefully and accepting his failure never proved to be a dent on his career, rather, he is hailed as a good leader who put the team before himself. After all, he isn’t called the God of Cricket for nothing.
- A fit body leads to a fit mind
Playing a game as physically exhausting as cricket for long hours under the sun is no piece of cake. It’s imperative for cricketers to stay fit for better performance. Rahul Dravid starts his day at 6 am with a run, followed by meditation for 30 minutes, daily. He also makes sure to hit the gym at least thrice a week, where he does cardio and light weight exercises, and on the days of the match, he even performs shadow practice to prepare himself. Virat Kohli, who is also known as a run machine because of his mind-boggling stamina, once revealed that he doesn’t focus on his upper body but only on his legs, doing close to 100 squat sessions daily, the secret to the explosive power that he displays in the field.
- Lead by example
The actions and conduct of players, both on and off the field, can set an example for both the team members and the audience. A good leader sets umpteen examples for others which encourage them to perform better. One such example is of Yuvraj Singh who was diagnosed with lung cancer when he was at the peak of his career. However, he not only fought it with all his might, but also went on to make an incredible comeback to the game, silencing all those who speculated that he will never be able to play again. Till date, he is one of the fittest players our country has. Australian player Rickey Ponting is another name to join the list. The way he conducts himself around his team and the audience has garnered him much respect and love from people, which is undoubtedly exemplary.
- Be a team player
The job of a leader is to encourage the team members, respect their opinions, and let them grow. India’s ex-captain, Sourav Ganguly, who is hailed as one of the most successful captains of the Indian Cricket team, had an immense level of respect for his team members. Also, the way he handled senior players like Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, and Kumble without any problem or controversies says much about his leadership qualities.
- Calm and patience
There are times when changes are made on the field in the blink of an eye. Change in plans due to a player getting hurt or any other reason requires a complete change in strategy. During such times, it is imperative to stay calm and patient. While young players have often lost their temper on the field, versatile veterans like Rahul Dravid have mastered the art of staying calm during critical times. Dravid has left behind him a clean legacy without any traces of a dent. He is known for his gentlemanly behaviour and was honoured by the Australian team as well for his dignity and patience. Never have we ever seen him shouting or losing his temper on the field or getting into any ugly fights with another player.
- Discipline and focus
While talent makes for a good player, discipline and focus are what make a good leader. Cricket is a game where billions of people pin their hopes on 11 team players, so it is imperative to stay disciplined and focused. While Virat Kohli has lost his temper on the field in the past, this doesn’t take away from him the focus and discipline he has, once he is on the field. Kohli, now the test match captain, was praised for his leadership qualities by former Indian coach Gary Kirsten who considers Virat to be an “Inspirational Leader”. Former Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya had also applauded the leadership qualities and the focus with which Virat works.