My house is bang opposite a park which at most times is buzzing. Sitting in my bedroom I can gaze at it for hours. I did the same on Saturday as I wrote this. The park is full of stories which define different virtues. There are young mothers helping toddlers to learn to walk. They fall, they get up and they fall again only to try once more. This is perseverance.
In the other corner, a bunch of boys play cricket. Their motto is to hit the ball long...very long. Each time I see them, they seem to have improved. This is confidence.
Then, there is an elderly couple who walk around the park. At their age, the walk looks arduous and painful but they hardly miss it. This is determination. I am lucky to see the almost-extinct sparrows. Each morning and evening they chirp away, adding energy to the atmosphere of the park. This is optimism.
So, my neighbourhood park has given me perseverance, confidence, determination and optimism — assets that define winners in all walks of life. Assets that define a sportsperson’s life too.
People have questioned author Malcolm Gladwell’s claim that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a given field. Having played at the top level I’d like to be in Gladwell’s corner. Nothing can be achieved without perseverance, which then, leads to confident expression of one’s skill sets. We had it all in the KKR dressing room. Throughout the season we had uncompromising training schedules. We gave confidence to all our players to express themselves. Had we won the title this year we’d have been the most successful franchise. This was one more reason to be determined. Optimism? We kept pulling it out time and again after every reversal.
Then, why did we lose? The reasons don’t go beyond playing a better-prepared opposition. KKR gave its best but may be it wasn’t good enough. Mumbai were better prepared. They had long-on in place for Chris Lynn keeping in mind his inclination to hit straight. There was deep mid-wicket lurking when I batted against leg-spinner Karn Sharma. They cramped both Sunil Narine and Lynn. Colin de Grandhomme, who has seen little spin back in New Zealand, was dished out a googly first-up. Cross-seam deliveries, slow bouncers were well used. In the end, the better team won.
Sanjeev Goenka, the owner of Pune franchise, is a dear friend. I know what it would mean to him if his team comes out on top on Sunday. I hope it adds value to Pune as a city as well. They have some real sparklers in their line-up and I am keen to see how Rahul Tripathi performs. While Mumbai has the experience of two finals, Pune has MS Dhoni and Steve Smith, who have won crunch moments in their IPL and international careers. For once, I’d like to be politically correct and say may the best team win.
As I finish writing this article, I can see a little pug announcing his presence in the park. The owners call him Battery. I have never seen Battery relieve himself in the park. This is discipline.
Dinesh Chopra Media