Delivered a talk at the Hyderabad Cricket Association's Rajeev Gandhi stadium at Uppal yesterday morning. The stadium is at least 17 kms from my house and it was getting hot even at 630 am. I was invited by Vidyuth (Jaisimha) who is the coach of the Under 16 boys for the summer camp. The Rajeev Gandhi stadium is a lovely stadium with all the facilities that anyone could ask for - gym, conference rooms, swimming pool, great practice facilities with all aids and props - you name it and you have it. I was prepared to talk to about 50 boys but we realized that about 25 of them were in the Under 14 category so I decided that we would stick to the older ones primarily.
It was good to see all my old cricketing friends who has turned into coaches - Anil Mittal (U-25 in 1985), Abhijit Chatterjee (U-19, U-22, Osmania University 1985-90), Riazuddin (HCA league), Ranga Raj (Osmania University)and Abrar Ahmed (HCA league) apart from Vidyuth with whom I have played all my cricket since Under - 15 days. We met in a large well furnished room with a mike and chairs (but no ac, instead we had huge fans that made more noise than any fan I have ever heard so we decided to do away with the fans and sweat it out). I was given an hour to deliver the talk and decided to focus on the importance of having a long term goal, short term goals and of preparation.
All boys gave out their long term goal which was to represent the country. I told them to take pride in their current achievement and to be focused on their long term goal and work for it. It was important to realise that only they are responsible for their goal and they must work for it - no one else is. I told them that it is best to break up their long term goal into smaller term goals and achieve each of them in a given time frame. When I asked them to come up with a short term goal for the camp and a target for the season, all of them came up to the dais and shared their plans. Some were very clear, some not, but all of them finally came up and shared their areas to work upon which was very encouraging. I emphasized on the importance of preparation - that they had only about 1600 days or about 5 years to make a mark if they wanted their goal to come true and they should use these days well. And that all of them stand a fair and equal chance of achieving their dream, depending on how they used their resources. The thought that they should know their strengths, work on their weak areas, push their limits farther and grow with each passing day was ingrained into them.
For a bunch of reticent and quiet cricketers, they gave me a spontaneous and standing applause which made the hour completely worth it. I ate some largely insipid but probably prescribed breakfast provided by the HCA and came back with a HCA T-shirt that Vidyuth gifted me for the effort. It's been ages since I owned one. I always prided my HCA logo.
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