Sunday, August 8, 2010

Chance Meeting With Robin Uthappa

The shooting of 'The Men Within' continued this Sunday at Don Bosco. After we did our bit Baig saab and I headed out to the ML Jaisinha Academy where Baig saab said, Robin Uthappa was waiting to do a session with him. I was very impressed. Here was an Indian cricketer willing to go that extra mile to learn from a senior coach even if it meant travelling all the way from Bangalore to Hyderabad and staying at his cost. I was equally impressed with Baig saab's commitment as he headed out to the coaching session without lunch from the shoot, and was going strong even at 230 pm.

Robin was there at the Academy waiting with his friend Steve. Steve had played for Karnataka at all levels save Ranji Trophy, India Under 15 and India Under 19 which is no mean feat. While we finished the niceties and Baig saab and Robin got down to the nets, Baig saab insisted that I spend some time with Steve who he said was a good cricketer who wanted to stop playing cricket and pursue other interests. I sat down for a while discussing the champion's mindset with Steve, sharing some of my experiences and ideas. I told him that we get exactly what we want, and his sudden exclusions from teams inexplicably, certainly warrants a deeper and more honest look within himself to find out what he is not clear about that he stops himself from going to the next level. Steve did listen carefully, he is a very smart and perceptive young man, and appeared to have grasped what I was telling him pretty quickly. We had a very interesting discussion that went on for an hour almost and by the end of it Steve, I hope, re thought his idea of giving up on cricket and pursuing his other passions such as counseling etc.

Robin and Baig saab joined us in between their sessions. Robin also shared his mindset about how he is working on coming back to the national side and performing well for a long time. He also did not comprehend the ups and downs in his career and has decided to give it his best shot, including honing his skills with Baig saab. 'I take only what is good for me,' he says about negative talk and criticism, ' and ignore the rest of the talk'. It makes immense sense to do that we agreed. Robin is very clear about giving his best for his team, willing to take on any challenge in the team's interest, which is his basic philosophy. Steve also said that he played all his cricket with that philosophy all his life. But isn't it better to know when to play a little smarter? It is a classic question - what does one do when faced with a seemingly impossible situation -try to win the game for the team or get some runs for yourself and secure your place. Here were two youngsters who swear that they have always given everything for their team's win (at the cost of their personal scores which really did not matter to them).

I insisted that it is a wonderful philosophy to have and one that every single member of the team must have too. The philosophy is absolutely correct and must never be questioned. If at all anything must be questioned, regarding the ups and downs, it is the other factors. One must look at all factors honestly, find the issue or the limiting belief, and work on it so it does not impede the destiny that is theirs for the taking. The young men listened intently, hopefully stronger in their belief to do everything for whichever team they play for, and bring glory to themselves and their teams, be it RCB, Karnataka or India. I am sure they would have benefited from this session with Baig saab, and would score many runs, take many wickets this season, and enjoy their cricket and entertain audiences for many years to come.

I gifted them both a copy of my book 'The Men Within', wished them well, and left because I needed to go. Baig saab was showing no signs of tiring despite eating no lunch and standing up on the dais all morning, in fact he seemed even more energized with the task at hand, and was putting Robin through the paces with the bowling machine. As Robin went back to his net session, Steve took my number so he could call me. I asked him to call me whenever he needed to talk to me. I told him I'd call him as well when I was in Bangalore. Here's wishing you both many good things Robin and Steve and I know that nothing would please Baig saab more than to see you both perform to your potential. Same here. Good luck and God bless.

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