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Sight Screen

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Out of the mouth of babes...

Nice interview, in Deccan Herald, with Zimbabwe captain Taitenda Taibu -- who, I thought, deserved far more recognition than he managed to get. To lead his national side -- one, moreover, teetering on the verge of anarchy -- the way he has done; to absorb as much punishment as his team has taken and still keep the team, such as it is, together, is no small feat -- the guy's mental age must be twice his real one. And that calm commonsense is nicely limned in his words. A sample:
Definitely not easy, especially as a top-order batsman and the captain, because if you are not careful, you get to drawn into the team feeling. If the team is not doing well, you tend to put a bit more pressure on your batting. But if you try and differentiate the two — if you are batting, you are just a batsman, you don't think about how the team is doing, you just think about how you want to do well. And if you are a keeper, you have to think about the ball that you are going to catch first, get it out of the way and then think about the bowling changes or what fields you have. You just have to make sure that you keep differentiating the two.
It is not easy, you have to train your mind to do that. Earlier on, it wasn't easy at all, but as soon as I realised that I was a 'keeper before I was a captain, and I am a batsman before I am the captain, the easier it became. If you start thinking you are a captain before you are a batsman or a 'keeper, then you tend to be drawn into the team feeling, which won't be good at all. You can only do so much as a captain, you can't control what the other guy is going to do. What you can do is bring out the best in him by trying to understand him and trying to work with him. If you try and put that pressure on yourself, it becomes a bit excess.
I think the turning point was when I had a chat with (Adam) Gilchrist. He said he tries to work on batting and keeping differently. He says with him, he is a more gifted batsman than a wicket-keeper, so everytime he gets to practice, he practises 80 percent of the time with his keeping and 20 percent with his batting. I just try and divide 50-50 because I think sometimes I hit the ball nicely, sometimes I keep really well. I am still to find out where I am stronger.


  • Yeh...I have always wondered abt him, as to how he does so well consistently, that too when every one is trashing your team. Amazing fella..

    His keeping too, comparing our fruitless search for one, has been remarkable.

    Would have really crushed a lesser man, But he has continued to stay above the troubled waters.

    I sincerely hope he gets to be part of a more successful team.

    By Blogger Ginkgo, at 19:24  

  • Apologoes for digressing...
    But found this interesting piece on the net.



    By Sanjay Jha

    Mumbai, September 19, 2005

    Mr Raj Singh Dungarpur, while talking to a leading newspaper has come up with a stunning disclosure, which sounds both highly shocking and extremely outrageous. But in Indian cricket these days anything is possible. Like Greg Chappell and Sourav Ganguly holding hands and inspecting the pitch. Yuvraj Singh giving dance tips to Mohd Kaif. And Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh writing each other's biography.

    According to Mr Dungarpur, former coach John Wright had asked Indian speedster Zaheer Khan to do an extra lap on the ground (by an unfortunate co-incidence this also happened in some previous tour of Zimbabwe). It seems the frequently injured Zaheer, whom we all believe to be the mild-mannered boy from Maharashtra's interiors, was so enraged at the Kiwi's instruction that "he charged at him (Wright) to bash him up".

    Now why did this ridiculous behaviour on the part of Khan did not figure in the team report, captain and coach assessments, the manager's confidential jottings, media covering the tour etc, we have no idea. Do you?


    Is this guy sanjay jha for real???

    By Blogger blueboy, at 19:30  

  • From the same link.....Howz that for a Statement...Amazing aint it..!

    How exactly do you train your mind?

    Obviously, you have to get used to doing the right things. The more you do the right things, the more it becomes easier. It's like batting in the nets. It doesn't make sense batting for two hours and not putting a hundred percent to it. If you bat for 20 minutes and give your hundred percent and do the right things, you are better off than a guy who bats for two hours but gives 80 percent. If you can train your mind on that part, you can train your mind on anything you do.

    By Blogger Ginkgo, at 19:32  

  • Yeh Sanjay Jha....with every article of his that comes up, he just sounds more and more like an immature fella..

    Dunno why, but I've always got that feeling of him..

    By Blogger Ginkgo, at 19:33  

  • Geez, not this chestnut again? Firstly, doing a lap of the ground was not limited to Zaheer.
    VVS Laxman was made to do several laps, after running himself out in asinine fashion.
    Bajji Singh has been similarly 'punished'.
    As for Zaheer threatening to bash Wright up, the incident did not happen on that occasion -- there was a dressing room argument following one of ZK's less memorable performances, Wright used the sort of language he is prone to, ZK said I'll bash you up, JW suggested he might want to get fit first before he attempts such heroics, half the dressing fell over themselves laughing, and the two later went off together for a beer.
    I've lost count of the number of times, and the number of people, who have brought up this incident, suitably infusing it with sinister overtones.
    In Sanjay's case, this is compounded by the fact that he just now appears to have heard of an incident that happened three years ago.
    Why was it not in any report? Because it was not an 'incident' -- in the sense of being anywhere out of the ordinary. Duh!

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 20:03  

  • Yes, TT really must have a big, big heart. This guy doesn't have the glory that accompanies players from other teams, but I think he'd make a pretty good role model...dedicated, head firmly attached to shoulders, maturity beyond years etc.

    By Blogger rp, at 20:52  

  • Prem,

    *LOL* that was a funny incident! Btw, have you posted any thoughts/analysis abt JW during the Ind-Pak series when he was going to leave us?

    By Blogger rp, at 20:57  

  • rp: Nope. I got the sense that by that time, he had given up on the politics, and was fed up with external interference. But we kept missing each other, though I was in Mumbai at the time, and never did get to talk -- absent first hand insight, I decided to avoid the subject

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 21:09  

  • Prem,

    I have a feeling that the next time you get to meet/interview JW, you'll have some really 'juicy' stories to share! :-)

    By Blogger rp, at 21:58  

  • Prem:

    Do you watch "The Apperentice"? New season started today on NBC...

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 22:14  

  • See this page... terrific one-liners from Ashes celebration.

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 22:32  

  • Changing topics, why is winning outside the sub-continent soooo important? Wasn't beating Pakistan in Pakistan an amazing feat? If we beat Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, wouldn't that be as good as beating NZ in NZ?

    By Blogger Ashvin Iyengar, at 22:38  

  • I think the main concern is the ability to beat WI in WI, Eng in Eng, Aus in Aus, NZ in NZ and SA in SA...we haven't beaten 5 good teams (probably WI isn't so good right now) in their den. And it's important bcos good teams achieve that like Aus and SA of the 90s. Agreed that we beat Pak in Pak, but that's the only favorable result in recent times...

    By Blogger rp, at 22:57  

  • Also, I remember we were supposed to beat Zim 2-0 in 2001 also...so this win, though expected, has probably removed a slight mental block that we may have had.

    By Blogger rp, at 23:00  

  • ashvin:

    Although any Test win can not be marginalized, most commentrators say that a team's real class is known only when it wins in alien conditions.

    For India, it would mean winning outside the subcontinent (PAK, SL, BD) because all these 3 countries have about similar ground and pitch conditions that we find in India.

    So, it is not about winning outside the subcontinent in the literal sense of the phrase. I think it means winning in conditions that are new for the team or to which the team is not accoustomed to. For example, Steve Waugh considered winning in India as the ultimate challange for AUS because the conditions in India were extreemly different from that in AUS. For him winning in India meant the same thing as "winning outside the subcontinent".

    So, if a team is able to overcome the challange of getting accoustommed to new environment and come out a winner, it would mean more compared to winning at home or at places where team would find "nearly home" conditions. Defeating SL in SL would be great but defeating NZ in NZ would be "amazing" because pitch and ground conditions in NZ would be very very different from those in IND or SL. It would be much more difficult for our batsmen to adjust to NZ pitches than it would be to adjust to SL pitches, the weather (cold), seam and bounce etc. would make it harder to bat in NZ than in SL. So, if we come out tops in NZ after conquering these conditions, it would mean more than winning in SL.

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 23:02  

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