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Mentoring – Team India Style

A scene from India‘s training session in England.

With no coach being appointed and the manager Chandu Borde dozing off, the senior players have taken it upon themselves to give individual attention to the new comers like Rohit Sharma and Piyush Chawla.

The youngsters are delighted that none less than the two legends Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly have taken them under their wings. From the other end of the ground, Rahul Dravid keeps throwing worrying glances at the Legends.

Rohit Sharma cannot control his enthusiasm and asks: Sachin, how do we tackle the moving ball in England

Sachin growls: No one adresses Sachin Tendulkar by his name

Sorry sir, Rohit Sharma says sheepishly.

Sachin seems satisfied.

Immediately Rohit Sharma asks: Sir, why do you refer to yourself in the third person

Sachin is pleased: Good, how to tackle the moving ball and such batting skills you can learn from your captain. Now Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly will give you tips on all-round development. Coming back to your question, if Michael Vaughan can do it then so can Sachin Tendulkar

Do what?

Referring to oneself in the third person. Ok. Now the first lesson that you kids have to learn is that you should always maintain a very good relation with all the senior cricketers – past and present. Always address them as ‘Sir’. Make sure you maintain a list of the most prominent cricket personalities so that you can buy them gifts when you return from an overseas tour. You never know who will become a selector in the future or form part of the innumerable committees that the BCCI will constitute after every tour.

But how will it help me?

Of course it will help you…Remember the third test againt SA…

Yes sir…we lost the test because of slow batting…I mean the pitch was difficult for batting

It was a very difficult pitch to bat on…If it didn’t look so when SA were batting, that was because our bowlers were bowling fulltoss after fulltoss…But everyone blamed Sachin Tendulkar for the defeat…But Dilip uncle knew the truth

Who is Dilip uncle?

You don’t even know this? Our chairman of selectors…You are touring England because of him…else Badri…Anyway, coming back to the SA test, Chris Harris was bowling really well

Sir, Chris Harris plays for New Zealand…it was Paul Harris

Yes..Paul Harris is a great bowler…the best left arm spinner in the world because he really troubled Sachin Tendulkar

Yes sir

As I was saying, when the whole nation was blaming Sachin Tendulkar for the defeat, only Dilip uncle undertsood the pains the great man took to negate the threat of Harris and Dilip uncle rewarded such selfless cricket by making Sachin Tendulkar the vice-captain

Yes Sir..I will always keep this point in mind

The second lesson is to maintain good contacts in the media… Sourav Ganguly will talk about that part

Sir, I am a great fan of your batting

Call me Dada

Yes Dada

Always maintain excellent relationship with the media…Make sure you have at least one friend in every major media house..print as well as electronic

Yes Dada

And don’t forget the commentators …There will be a lot of former cricketers who are commentators now…Always approach them for advice on your batting, bowling, fielding, anything

But Dada, not all of them are good

I never asked you to implement their advice…Ask for their advice regularly..That will keep them happy…And they will always talk about you in glowing also helps that most of them have no idea about what they are talking about

And never ever go anywhere near Sanjay Manjrekar…He is too critical of everyone including you-know-who

You mean Lord Voldermot?

What do you mean? I was referring to the great man standing next to me…Make sure you always ask for batting tips from Sunny uncle…Remember this…just ask…don’t implement…else you will score 36 not out in 50 overs and will never play ODIs again

Yes Dada

Also maintain a very good relation with Ravi bhai..He is a bit like Manjrekar, but his employers will make sure that he doesn’t ask any unnerving questions

Yes Dada…but every media house doesn’t have a cricketer on its rolls

That’s fine..You have to make friends with all the journalists…See how it helped when I was chucked out of the team…There were only 5 people from my street demonstrating against it…But these ultra-modern studios..Couldn’t believe my eyes when the guy who has a tea stall on my street was shown burning Greg’s effigy in Chennai…He has never gone out of Kolkota

Yes Dada…I will make sure I have a friend in every TV channel

Not just TV channels, you need to have friends in all major newspapers…

Sachin Tendulkar chips in: Make sure that whenever you are nearing a landmark like a half-century, century or a double-centruy, forget everything else…You have to safely reach the landmark first – that is the first lesson Sunny uncle taught Sachin Tendulkar…And if you have friends in the media, they will do the rest …You need to know how to subtly manipulate the media..Remember the test against Pakistan when Sachin Tendulkar was batting in the 190s and the captain declared…Agreed the strike rate was not great and double century could have been achieved far more quickly, but still a personal double century is bigger than a team win…Sachin Tendulkar didn’t say much during the press conference..just “I am disappointed”

Yes Sir…Very Valuable lessons Sir

Make sure if there are any matches against Zimbabwe or Bangladesh, you score maximum amount of runs…And again leave it to the media…

Make sure you identify the present and former players who are powerful and always sing their praises

Yes Sir, in the present team, you, Dada and the captain

The captain is not powerful..but he may become a commentator in the future…so make sure you keep him in good humour…Look at Yuvraj Singh…He hasn’t done anything of note with the bat in the last 1 year…But he supported Sachin Tendulkar in the media when Greg Chappell said something nasty about the great man…And he got his reward for that..He got promoted to Grade A when the contracts were announced…

Yes Sir…

And for the non-Mumbaikars, if possible try to get a contract with the Mumbai Ranji team…there are now 5 Mumbaikars in the team…Jaffer is really giving headaches to Pawar uncle and Dilip uncle..He scores only once in a series – even if it is against Bangladesh

Ok go back to your training..Seems the captain is getting suspicious..

Yes Sir..Thank You Sir..Thank You Dada

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