Much is written about the paralysis induced by the fear of failing. Today’s events underline the other, greater fear — the debilitating fear of success.
More than once in this series, Bangladesh has looked to compete with India on an even footing. — the home team’s second innings being the perfect example. At 290 for three, Bangladesh seemed to be coasting on the wings of Tamim Iqbal’s fireworks display aided and abetted by Junaid Siddiqui and nightwatchman turned thorn in the flesh Shahadat Hussain.
It is debatable whether Bangladesh could have parlayed that into a winning position — but with a little bit of application, the home side could have seriously embarrassed the visitors. And then, just as the game neared the tipping point, Bangladesh lost the plot — spectacularly and completely. Complacency, is Shakib’s diagnosis; fear of success is mine.
There was a time when India suffered from this syndrome. It would, especially when traveling, play itself into a position of strength — and then, having gotten a grip on the game, its engines would overheat, and bring the side crashing down. Bangladesh is now in that position, and that actually qualifies as an improvement — from being the easy-beats of the long form, the side is gradually reaching that point where it can stymie even top teams, for prolonged periods in each game. That transition largely owes to Jamie Siddons, who took over the coaching role in late 2007; his job now is to push his wards that extra step, and teach them how to translate their talents and energies into a winning effort [the role John Wright played with the Indians in the late 1990s, for instance].
Elsewhere, South Africa is going through one of its periodic epiphanies — the result, seemingly, of a coach and selection committee intent on picking players on merit, and of a board that wants to use cricket at least in part to correct historical wrongs. In an otherwise quiet cricket world, some reading matter: Aakash Chopra continues his insider column with a note on the Holy Grail of the professional sportsman: form.
The dictionary explains “form” in different ways, but for cricketers it’s a state of uncluttered mind: when everything falls in place and you don’t have to worry about where the next run or the next wicket will come from. When in form, it happens by itself. When in form, your focus is on the next ball, not on the one that just went past your bat. You find gaps when in form, fielders when out of it.
On a personal note, have over the past few days of inactivity gotten a few dozen mails from readers asking (a) whether I intend to resume regular blogging and (b) whether my blogging will be restricted to cricket.
Yes. No. There you go.
I’m currently struggling with way too much on my plate — both professionally, where I am busy trying to understand the intricate architecture of Yahoo’s global operations and where and how I slot into it, and personally, where thanks to a lot of traveling I haven’t yet found the leisure to settle my home down. Regular blogging resumes once at least one of these two things are accomplished; when it does, it will not be restricted to cricket [in fact, I suspect I’ll shift to a regular, probably daily, cricket column on the Yahoo platform, and use this blog to round things off, and focus on non-cricket themes.
So: yes, and no. Give me time. 🙂