Tuesday, May 6, 2014

IPL 7 - An Analysis of Leadership Styles

As I did once before I'd like to analyse leadership styles of the captains of the teams in play. I have always felt that in India popular sentiment is given more weightage than leadership ability. That one blunder costs the entire team heavily. Look at how the various parties are promising posts to various communities and castes and not on ability. It's a shame. Look at our leaders and how they have got their positions. Rarely on merit or ability.

Anyway, back to cricket. Some teams might have fallen prey to the same kind of thinking and might have appointed captains based on nationality rather than ability. Shikhar Dhanwan is a case in point. Why would he lead a side when they have an international captain who has already won a T20 World Cup in the side is something I do not understand. Its not that Shikhar has led Delhi often or his zone often. Why then do they need to burden a good player with the task of proving himself as a captain and lead players of the calibre of Steyn. Warner, Sammy et al. is a question that the Sunrisers can ask themselves.His shaky confidence would reflect in why Mishra fallen off, why Steyn is coming apart, why their entire campaign is looking shaky.

The order then.
Exceptional class
1) Mahinder Singh Dhoni leads the pack for me as usual. Quietly efficient, he is retreating even further behind and letting his team perform. The perfect example of Lao Tzu's quote on leadership - that the people would finally say they did it themselves when it is done. They are sailing through CSK is and half the team has not even played.

2) Shane Watson gets the nod because he is getting his fringe players to perform. Tambe, Samson, Rahane, Binny, Karun Nair and the young Indian brigade which is nowhere near the national scene is doing it for him which is a great achievement. Watson also believes in leading from the front as he did with the bat in the super over and the ball in the match against KKR. Able replacement for Warne. Go Watson. Cricket Australia missed a trick when they mishandled Watson. I do believe he is great captaincy material.

3) George Bailey is another quiet achiever. He is not an outstanding strategist nor motivator but he is solid and calm and supports his players which is great. Getting out of the way is half the job done. Why then would Maxwell find such outrageous form that he never was allowed to in Mumbai's heavyweight zone, Miller, Sehwag and others chipping in. Again for me the performance of the fringe players is the key.

4) Virat Kohli is one who can never be written off as a captain simply because he is so intense and wants to win all the time. His own form and that of Gayle's must be worrying for him but the fact that AB pulled them out of the hole in that sensational match against Sunrisers must have given the team the boost it needs. I'd never write of Virat Kohli's team. Now if only he could  balance that high intensity with a bit more calm and knowing guidance he would be in Dhoni's league.
5) Dinesh Kartik / Kevin Pieterson: Kartik was hardly effective as a skipper and now with Pietersen in, one must wait and watch. The team still looks bits and pieces and certainly does not look confident or look together. Much work needed. They look tense and are not enjoying themselves.


6) Rohit Sharma has the tough job of being responsible for the team's performance while listening to an eminent board of experts that starts with Sachin, Kumble, Ponting, Robin Singh, Wright and many more luminaries I cannot remember. It is ridiculous. The captain needs to make the calls and needs an uncluttered mind. What the hell are all these mentors and coaches and experts doing there I wonder. Even their presence adds to the pressure. Take a leaf out of RR's book boys. I am surprised they won last year bu to me MI will always be heavy with names and low on player and team performances.

7) Shikhar Dhawan should not have been made captain. Now that they painted themselves into a corner the management cannot undo it without more damage being done. Only Shikhar can do himself and his team a favor and save them by quitting the job and focusing on his job as a batsman. The poor boy was such a natural and uninhibited player who brought so much joy to the field and look what they have done to him. All serious and not enjoying himself at all. Go ahead and quit Shikhar, and put it down to learning. You have much time ahead of you anyway.

8) Gautam Gambhir needs to smile a bit more says Ganguly (who never smiled much himself). But he is right, Saurav Ganguly is. Gambhir's intensity and sense of perfection is his biggest strength and his biggest weakness. Any team that lost from yesterday's position (122 for no loss chasing 170 odd) can only mean one thing - too much pressure on it. Much of this pressure must be absorbed by the captain, something MSD does so well and something Gambhir, a vocal critic of MSD, must be realising now. Its a tough job again for him with another bunch of experts from Akram, Raman, Dahiya and several others pouring down advise. Take the pressure off yourself, off the team and go out and enjoy yourself (by giving your best). The pressure tactics obviously did not work. Use the other angle. Keep it simple chief and trust your players. They are here to do their best and they will do it if you don't scowl so much.

My advise for Gambhir would be to call his team, tells them he trusts them to do their best and leave it at that. Best thing for him to do is chill and have a chat with someone while in the dressing room instead of working himself and his team up. Trust them chief, and let them be. They will do it. It's a great side, balance wise and the only problem is this immense pressure they are playing under. KKR does not deserve to be there and much of where they are comes down to the skippers attitude.

That then is my take on the captains. I might refine my thoughts by the end yet.

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