It was another amazing example of how a person's belief in himself, his abilities and his team can work miracles. Shane Warne is a true champion - a champion player, a champion competitor and a champion leader. I could hear Kasprowiz (I think) warning the other commentator in the box that as long as Warne is on the field, one could expect a twist. And what a twist there was to the IPL 3 match between the rag-tag bunch of Rajasthan Royals and the all-star Deccan Chargers last night.
Champions lead by example - Takes the toughest part
Firstly Warne comes back from what everyone considered a lean bowling patch to create an opening that was never there - bowling his 4 overs from the 12- 18th over and picking up 4 for 21 in a phase when the Chargers were fully in control of the game with only 3 wickets down. It was as if he was casting a spell, enacting a script that he had already written. Anirudh Singh, Dwayne Smith, Bilakhia and Ryan Harris got drawn into his web. Suddenly Deccan Chargers were 7 wickets down!
Never Lost Belief - In Himself and His Team
And as the match went up and down, with a seemingly good over from Watson being mauled by Rohit Sharma for 3 fours, and then another seemingly decent over form Morne Morkel going for thirteen - the equation came down to 6 runs in 6 balls with 3 wickets in hand and the rampaging Rohit Sharma on strike. Many skippers would have thrown their caps in disgust - come on guys, when will you learn why do I have to do everything myself etc etc but not Warne. Remember that super over that he made that rookie bowler Kamran bowl against Saurav in IPL 2 and he won the game for RR?
Always Believe That Your Team Is Doing Its Best
Warne grimaced and gestured to himself that the ball from Morkel that went for a six should have actually been further up and in the blockhole and not drivable length - and then clapped his hands encouragingly at Morkel. The bowler, who was surely not too happy at conceding 13 runs in 6 balls at a crucial stage, found comfort and solace in knowing that his skipper knows. That he tried his best. That comforting space is what eggs him on to strive harder - and when RP Singh hit a skier that went behind Morkel, he took an amazing catch sprinting full tilt at a ball that was falling over his shoulder. Your belief that your team is giving its best, is what makes them strive harder to give their best.
Never Give Up Till The Last Ball
Siddharth Trivedi, the bowler who had the unenviable job of bowling the last over defending a paltry 6 runs, said later on television that Warne had told him that 'whatever you bowl, make sure its your best ball'. Clear instructions, setting targets to the bowler in his mind that he has to think of his best and that as far as Warne was concerned, the match was not over. Trivedi conceded 4 runs in the over which included a wide, and he bowled 3 of the 5 deliveries to Rohit Sharma!! 'I know he has faith in me,' he said simply and that's it. Faith in these young boys that turns them into ice cool supermen.
Your Belief Affects Not Just Your Team, It Also Affects The Opposition
Six runs in 6 balls and you hold your belief. You tell your bowler that he needs to bowl his best balls. Your fielder who just bowled a bad over brings off a stupendous catch. And then under tremendous pressure, your young player who is manning the cover boundary, brings off Rohit's steepling hit into a catch, as cool as a cucumber. If that's not self-belief, what is it?
On the other hand, the batsman on strike, Roht Sharma, is batting on 70 runs and he knows, as he sees this man marshal his quietly resilient troops, that the match is definitely not over. He is forced to take his focus off his batting and he starts feeling the pressure of somehow getting those 6 runs. He runs an uncharacteristic single on the first ball thus exposing RP Singh to the strike. Then when he gets a second opportunity at the batting crease when RP gets out on a skier, Rohit runs a single again, and then a non-existent second run that runs out the other batsman. And then, with another ball to spare, it just gets a bit too much for him as he throws his bat in a loss of concentration and loses his wicket. One run to tie, two to win and two balls to spare!
Belief, can work miracles. Hold your belief in yourself and your mates. That's stuff champions are made off. Not big names and reputations!