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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Why did India lose against NewZealand?

The above match is a classic case of how diagnosis should not be done. In a system, cause and effect are intermingled, and it requires a non-linear thinker to seperate the elements and come to a conclusion.

For instance, one of the newspaper column said that the 'fault was in giving too many runs at the end'. If you have observed other matches, you will always find that many runs are scored in the last few overs. For instance, South Africa scored some 40 odd runs in last two overs. It is the interplay of different different factors in 20-20 game that causes this. If an experienced team like England has not learnt this trick, can we expect Indians to do so?

Another diagnosis was Yuvraj Singh should not have been bowled in the 16th over. One newspaper column also wrote that 'India did not seem to have learnt anything from the past. Yuvraj was hit for five sixes in a over'. This newspaper column does not know that being hit in the last overs depends on how bowler 'readjusts' with the batsman. For instance, England bowler Schofield gave 14 runs in 3 overs, but gave away 3 sixes in the last over, because he could not readjust with the Morkel's hitting zone. So why was Yuvraj given the 16th over? One can surmise that Dhoni must have thought that ' Having seen how he was hit by Mascerhans ( of England), Yuvraj must have learnt this readjustment'.

Another wrong element in the diagnosis is our intrinsic bias. Because Robin Uthappa played well in the match before that, the commentators do not want to blame him. But one can argue that it was precisely the 'mental unpreparedness' of Uthappa that swung the match. Contrast this with SriLanka chasing Newzealand. After a initial flourish, their next batsman took their time to settle before they went for the kill. The failure of Uthappa to adjust and settle probably lost the game, one can argue. But no commentator even mentions it because bias of 'past' performance clouds the 'present'. If one is diagnosing what went wrong in the current game, why should one get biased with the past?

A match between two players is a system. In a system, everything is an interplay. Cause and effects cannot be delineated easily. A smaller match between a batsman and bowler is also a system. One who does the 'readjustment' faster wins. Because everything is over if you do not readjust in time, the 'time to swap back to normal' matters a lot in a game. Schoefield readjusted beautifully with other batsman in the first three overs, and lost the battle with Morkel in the last over. In the larger scheme of things, that mattered to England a lot. So the diagnosis should be to to 'enable Schoefield to understand what could he have done differently'. And in the India match, it could be to 'help Uthappa to settle before he plays his natural game'. Of course, there are many such elements in a matter that matter in a match. For the sake of simplicity, we are just picking one example.

In a game, the mental traits of being in present, of not getting overwhelmed by the target, of not going too far ahead of the game, of playing the game within one's zone are the qualities that matter, because time is dominant factor. Like the famous football Italian coach Valleri said " I never lost a match. I was always short of time".

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Think two times before changing your job

Today, executives have numerous job options, due to which they often change jobs for the simplest of the reasons. They should rethink their decision due to two reasons.

One, they reset their stock of credibility they have gained with their employer to zero. Their entire experience of few years is brought to zero because they have to fight again to prove their credibility in a new set up. Credibility does not depend on the skill they have gained in the earlier job. It depends on the track record they have created on the jobs done, on the promises they have managed to keep despite the difficulties, on the support they have provided to the teams while delivering the tight schedules, on the kinds of problems they have solved and above all the 'trust' they have gained of their immediate superiors. All this stock is reset to zero. In short, they reformat their disk storage of credibility and start afresh. For a career, that is a definite loss.

Two, they often claim to have changed jobs because they did not get what they wanted in terms of experience. It is important for a youngster to learn to keep his expectations in check, because the world does not run according to his timetable. Instead, these youngsters get impatient too soon and want to jump to another company just because other company is 'offering' something they want at that point of time. Little do they realise, that they will face the same situation again in a new company. These situations are therefore learning experiences where the youngster has to learn to cap his aspiration and wait 'patiently' for the right time.

Worse still, they often change jobs due to 'ego' reasons, due to conflict with boss, or even because someone got more raise than them. Managing a difficult boss is another learning experience that one should undergo at a young age. If the youngster fails to utilise his experience, he is less equipped to negotiate the difficult boss at senior level (if he is unlucky to get one), when the stakes have considerably risen. At that time, he will have noone else other than Fate to curse.