While Team India is preparing for its mini worldcup battle against West Indies on the Cricket field, every sports lover in cricket crazy India is watching for the battle that Virendra Sehwag is fighting with himself. Viru as he is affectionately called, who can singlehandedly destroy the opposition on his day, is now going through a rough patch which if not reversed, could end a promising career.
It is therefore interesting to look at the problem from a non cricketing angle. Knowing Viruâ€™s style, it is clear that he depends more on instinct than on technique for his success. Instincts are however as much a function of the mental state of a human being as his physical well being. While the physical trainers and coaches may be taking care of his physical requirements, it appears that he is mentally not being adequately prepared.
Is this a case of â€œLack of Self Confidenceâ€? will repeated auto suggestions could improve the situation?.. Perhaps.. and I think this has already been tried on Viru by his mentors.
My personal reading is that Viru is being bogged down by the responsibility that he feels. He is a person who would blossom if no responsibility is thrust on him psychologically. If he is allowed to function as a loner.. as against the â€œteam man conceptâ€, he is likely to perform better.
This theory of a â€œLoner in a Teamâ€ is a concept which may appear contrarian. But it must be remembered that the cumulative result of the performance of several loners in a team becomes the team effort. This is not to say that a member of a team sport like Cricket can perform effectively without the help of others. But what is essential is that as long as â€œBeing a Lonerâ€ is not â€œDysfunctionalâ€, some individuals function better without too much of a perceived responsibility. This is precisely the case why some individual players fail when they become captains of the team. At the same time, very aggressive loners end up antagonizing others since they may become too selfish.
The art of success for Viru management is to leave him to perform as a loner. Leave him free not to attend the morning team meeting for strategic thinking and tell him that he should take care of his innings and his innings alone without being bothered by what the team strategy is.. without making him feel that he is being left out or side linedâ€¦ Then he is sure to fire. This is also the reason why Viru has performed more during first innings of a test match than in the second innings and that too when India is batting first and he is opening the innings.
Is Team India listening?