Curious case of Mahendra Singh Dhoni

I was waiting for the fourth test match to begin to write this post. I have been waiting to write this post for a long time anyway. It needed the right motivation and setting to really express my concern, consulting advice, caution or a plain rant about the state in which Indian Cricket is right now.

MSD

(c) India Today

To be honest, I’m not a trade analyst or a cricket pundit. I’m little bit of a business analyst but I don’t consider Cricket as business, though it has become one now. I’m a pure cricket loving, patriotic Indian cricket fan. And I look at the game from the eyes of a desperate fan who wants to see his team win, or at least show some fighting spirit. This ‘spirit’ in the Indian cricket has been missing for the good part of 20 months after we won the world cup. To a large extent, this has to be attributed to one man called as Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

I’m an admirer of MSD’s cricketing style. He is a great player and massive hitter of the ball. I’m thankful to whoever the selector was who insisted on MSDs name and coerced Ganguly/John Wright to choose Dhoni ahead of any other wicket keeper in India (notably Dada’s favorite Parthiv Patel and Kumble/Dravid recommended Dinesh Kartik). He had taken the ODI arena by storm with some cracking centuries and then lifting the inaugural T20 world cup. Brilliant he was then, but mediocre he has become now.

There have been volumes of arguments on the ‘Talent v/s Attitude’ debate. Dhoni, to me, is a bit of both. But just like his nemesis Sehwag, he doesn’t have enough steam to either summon the talent when needed or show the attitude and grit when the chips are down. The grit shown by a captain to root his feet down and make sure everyone follows his visionary accord has been missing in Dhonis leadership. He is too cool, giving a feeling of carelessness towards the obvious problems in the team. His choice of players, tactics on the field and placements have been ranging from curious to baffling, which is why people have been questioning his decision making. Team selection for the 2011 world cup is an example.

Demeanor of a leader has to be staunch and authoritarian. Sadly, Dhoni exudes a passive vibe that mostly leaves the batsmen or bowlers to take their own decisions and push the game in all directions. This is what happened with a talented bowler like Ashwin in the just concluded Mumbai and Kolkata test. Dhoni should have walked up to him and told, “Listen friend, experimenting is good. But make sure you don’t give them a practice of playing all kinds of deliveries. Hold a line and attack. We need wickets.” I’m sure Dhoni didn’t say that and we know what happened. Lets take an example of a captain of a small batch of soldiers and a team of surgeons lead by an able senior hand. The captain soldier is more likely to give loud, aggressive motivational speeches to his soldiers. He is likely to shout “Company… March!” every now and then. This loudness is required to instill the confidence and passion in the soldiers. A surgeon on the other hand is unlikely to shout to slogan. For his kind of work, composure and patience is the key. Indian team under Dhoni is a legion of soldiers led by a surgeon.

Sachin Tendulkar is another example of a brilliant player with an abysmal leadership track record. Everyone knows Sachin is a classic example of perfect combination of talent and attitude. Sadly he was never able to infuse the same attitude, if not talent, in any of the youngsters he played with. His stint as a captain was limited. So it is difficult to say if he really groomed any youngsters. But Dhoni has been at the helm for a long period of 5 years. Baring Virat Kohli, Dhoni hasn’t been able to fixate anyone else in the team. Even Virat is fast becoming an ODI specialist. This is one reason I admired Ganguly. He went to an extent of dipping form in his own game to groom youngsters and build a team that laid foundation to the young Indian squad. Sehwag, Yuvraj, Harbhajan, Zaheer who went on to become important players in the team when he was at the helm. It lead to the transition of the team from the Azaruddin era to the Dravid-Laxman era dominated equally by batsmen and bowlers. Dhoni on the other hand had a legion of talented youngsters such as Kohli, Raina, Munaf Patel, Pujara, Ashwin, Ojha, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Rohit Sharma, Rahane… but none has been able to really sparkle on the international test arena, let alone cement the place in the team.

Change is needed now. Even Ganguly, honestly or disgustingly, was asked stepped down (read sacked) when things were not going good. Dhoni got a readymade team of senior players who were all in form. Now that three of them have retired (Dravid, Kumble, Laxman) and two have been asked to leave (Zaheer, Harbhajan), it is important that we get a man who can rebuild the new team. But who? Virat Kohli? He is sporadic and new on the test scene. May be Gambhir or even Ravi Ashwin.  Lets see if the sun sets on MSD. I have been long waiting for a new sunrise.

Who says we are corrupt?

Magic "trouble" money

(Photo credit: madhavaji)

… and another story of corruption in cricket has surfaced. Should we be worried or surprised? I think not!

Think of a situation. If I tell you that I was on my way to ‘so and so’ place. But I was delayed because I was stopped by a traffic cop. Or if I tell you that I had to go to the office of district magistrate or to the PF office to get my long standing hard earned money back stuck in the heap of files, your obvious question mostly likely to be is- Kitna Diya?

Pardon me for using the names of certain departments affiliated to the Indian government. I meant no disregard to any person in particular. But even if I spoke of any other department, it wouldn’t matter much because the sentiment (about corruption) is pretty much the same every where. Besides, I haven’t stayed or even visited any other country than India and also in India, I have stayed at very few places. So people from the ‘other’ places that I haven’t visited can safely assume that my comment is not about them.

Anyway, as a matter of fact, we have all grown up as corrupts. Our lives started with If you pass your exams with XX%, I will give you YY arguments. But every one knew they were all futile arguments because the kids who indeed passed with XX% were going to do so any way. And most of the kids who didnt, got the YY despite abysmal shows in exams. Thank fully, my parents, particularly father, never engaged me in the game of XX and YY. He probably knew I was not fit to gain the XX% and wouldn’t be lured into slogging hard even for a YYYYY reward. But more than that he knew instigating the unfair reward system inside children’s minds was wrong. After all, as school going kids, weren’t we expected to study?

What we learnt as children, the unfair reward system, we carried it through to our professional lives. No wonder every ‘babu’ expects a cut for passing a file, work he is supposed to be doing any way. And why blame babus? We have, with an intention good or bad, deliberately greased hands of some unwilling honests for personal gains. Remember the watchmen of girls hostels? the lab attendants? the juniors who carried your roses?

We have all grown up corrupts. We have seen our parents grow old corrupt, even though unwillingly. Though the money the country has lost due to corruption only in last 2-3 years would have been sufficient to eradicate poverty and free us of income tax, we have not learnt any thing from mistakes. Kasab is still alive. A Raja is out of the jail. Congress is still in power. Anna Hazare’s lokpal is still a dream. We are still bribing the traffic police.

Who says we are corrupt? This is how we live! Jai Hind!

Renault Fluence

Image courtesy- Motoring.co.uk

This car is coming to India… and give a run for its money to many… watch out 🙂

For specifications and review, head here

Of Democracies and Kings

I was just wondering what if I was born in the era of the great kings. May be I’d have made a history of some sorts. I could have been a great warrior who single handedly won many battles. Or I could have been a great scholar and might have written the greatest of all literatures. Or I could have been one of the greatest painters. Or… well the list is endless. I could have been any one par any one’s imagination. May be a King myself? Who knows?

Frankly speaking I’m a person too unimportant to imagine myself as anyone. Let us imagine some one like Dhirubhai Ambani or Bill Gates. What if either Dhiru Bhai or Bill Bhai were born in, let us say, Maurya dynasty? They were both visionaries and innovators. They earned their wealth by making good products and doing exceptional marketing. It wouldn’t stupid to believe that Dhiru Bhai or Bill Bhai earned more wealth than the GDPs of many countries. But traditionally, in the eras of the great Kings, it was the royal families who owned all the wealth. They had all the access to the best of luxuries in their kingdom and had the right to declare wars on the neighbouring or far off kingdoms. They were the ultimate power.

Now consider a hypothetical situation that they both (Dhiru and Bill) were born during the Maurya Dynasty and earned wealth of similar nature. Doesn’t it make them able enough to own and enjoy the luxuries presently available only to the kingdoms? And what about giving them the ability to rule the kingdoms? Practically it should have happened that way. But I always thought it did not happen that way until I gave a closer look to the democracy today. Who’s the most powerful nation today? Arguably United States. Some might say UK or Japan or whatever. Had it not been the burgeoning industrial and commercial growth in these countries, they wouldn’t have reached the paramount of economic and military power. No wonder why an entire nation of China gets threatened by one man’s search engine, his company. No wonder why the governments of countries such as Saudi Arabia, India and few others are fighting it out with just one research in motion.

I get my answer why there were no Dhiru Bhais or Bill Bhais in the age of great dynasties. Because there was no democracy. There was just one man who ruled them all, just one man who decided the fate of many. And there was only one man who decide who grew and who did not. One man was the King… sigh! I wish I was a King!

Bed and Batter

I have been on traction for the last two days. Reason? Well some disc in my vertebra or spinal cord or some where there slipped. In simple words, I had a slip disc. A fall on the stair way became a reason. But the doctor says it must be a lingering problem caused due to bad posture at work, unhealthy life style, too much stress, too much travelling etc. So the vertebral column was already weak. The fall contributed to the slip of the disc.

Anyway, now that I’m bed ridden for the next few days, it gives me a good chance to be active on the blogging circles. So you might expect some posts from me and lot of comments of your blog. And I’ll be away from work as well. So that is a double benefit. Yay! 🙂

Though I may be on bed, I’m certainly not battered. Chak de Phatte!!!

Best Way to Solve Ayodhya Problem!

Here is the best way! 😀

Cartoon by Lahri

I’m sorry I could not give credit to the original cartoonist or the original poster as I received it on an email and it had no back link.

Do you think I have too much attitude?

Through a friend’s reference, I went to meet a director of some MBA college here in Mumbai. The purpose was to deliver a 3 hour lecture on career planning to their students. The director insisted that he will interview me before he can let me take this opportunity. I said fine and I went to meet him today. This is what happened.

After reading through my resume back and forth for some time, he asked me just three questions.

1) (in Hindi) Son, tell me about yourself… but in English.

Me: Sir, my name is Mayur Pathak. I have close to 6 years of industry experience, mostly in managerial roles. I have led teams as well as been in teams to know what exactly a management aspirant should look for from a corporate world. I have conducted such trainings in the past. So I feel I have the right experience to guide your students.

(Pause) (I guess he was expecting some thing else) Is it done?

Me: Yes. Can you tell me what else are you looking for apart from what is written in my resume and what I just said?

 

2) Err… Ah no. Thank you! What is your objective?

Me: Sorry? Are you asking my life’s objective?

D: Yes. Life career… I’m asking in general.

Me: (I didn’t understand what he meant by ‘in general’. But since he asked, I had to answer.) I can define two objectives for myself. The first one is more philosophical and rather egoistical. But I have grown up believing that it is only the larger than life aim that keeps you going when the time is not so good. The second option is more realistic.

(1) “I’d like to die as a person whose death will be mourned by the whole world, at least by the fraternity I will belong to. I want to contribute some good in a manner that my death be a loss to the community.”

(2) “I want to start and run one of the most successful management consulting companies in the world.”

The second objective has again come from a belief that India hasn’t been able to achieve the world dominion in industries and trade not because of lack of technical or financial know how but because of bad decision making. I want to help all the small companies to shape up their business so that at least few of them go on to become big.

(The answer baffled him. He was expecting a ‘I want to be Ratan Tata‘ kind of objective. He was obviously disappointed.)

(Second Pause)

 

3) Okay tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.

Me: A SWOT analysis? (He nodded). Well, doing a generic SWOT analysis of a person, in my opinion, will return a very subjective result. The reason is our inability to qualify and quantify our strengths and weaknesses. How can I be sure of what is good and how good is good for me? For example, I may be able to type fast, but that does not necessarily become my strength. At the same time I can not run like Usain Bolt and that again is not my weakness.

To be a world class consultant, I need to be a good teacher, preacher and an exceptional orator. So in that context, I can say that my communication skill, both written and oral is my strength. However I also understand that to be a teacher, guide and visionary, my communication skills will have to be backed by strong knowledge and expertise in my fields. Gathering knowledge is an ongoing process. So lack of in depth knowledge will always remain my weakness.

He pondered over my answer as if I had sent him a legal notice and was looking for a response. Then he peeped back into my resume before extending his hand towards me. Then he thanked me for sparing time to meet him but said sorry that he will not be able to allow my lecture. He said the questions he asked me were important from a career perspective. And I answered them with too much attitude. He said he didn’t want any of his students to follow me or my advice. Otherwise they will be spoilt with attitude.

Huh? Attitude? What the…

Caught With a Cop!

I was booked by a traffic cop yesterday. It was my mistake and I was booked only for that. But what happened in the space of 10 min makes it an interesting thing to mention here. Here is what happened.

I was travelling with my wife late yesterday evening, going to the market. We were in the middle of some interesting conversation and by mistake I jumped a signal. Blame it on the road, which was not much crowded at 9pm. But I realised it immediately after I jumped and I went back to the stop line. I also missed a traffic cop standing on the foot path waving towards me. Obviously he had to walk some distance (read few steps) to come and reprimand me. I thought he would just do that and leave. But no. He decided to book me for the offence I saved myself from committing. Continue reading