For god’s sake – no hierarchies in cricket!

In recent days, Indian newspapers and TV channels have been brimming of stories about Indian cricket team’s World Cup debacle. The Blue Billion got let down, “World Cup Ko-La” is selling, people cancelled their Caribbean crusades, broadcasters & advertisers lost money, no more late night TV (lot of power-saving; good for us), SMS/emails taking a dig at Team India and the list goes on and on. And of course, as usual, we all collectively as a nation set out to find out a few ‘bakras’ (scapegoats!) for our 1 week World Cup dream. Now that’s not a difficult task. We are really adept at it. The usual suspects – a foreign coach who has been in the news for not-so-right reasons, a captain (I don’t really know what to write about him) and finally we had this term “senior players”. We created a visible hierarchy in cricket. And this caught my attention.

There is this whole story about allegations that senior players in the team stifled the juniors, they mistreated them and someone said they even abused them. The senior players, of course, denied this outright. What is interesting is that how much we Indians love hierarchy. Hierarchy is perhaps as old as India. The caste system provided an overall classification of the society. Even today, we see hierarchies in offices (“yes sir”), government (“please sir”)…everywhere. I have seen deep-rooted hierarchy systems in companies which are the stalwarts of Indian business and are multi-nationals in their own right. 

Now, I see the same thing in cricket. I don’t understand why should there be even a mention of a hierarchy in a sport. All that matters is talent and execution. Why should there be someone in a team who is senior and someone who is junior. By doing something like this, we regress towards a system where seniority is determined by tenures and not performance. How can we classify people as “seniors” / “juniors” based on their length of careers? If that is logical, they should perform every time (especially when India needs them the most) because they are, well, seniors. What instead should matter is performance.

Using such terms by the coach, team members or the media is just fragmenting an already rattled team and hierarchies are not going to work. It is a team and should be looked at and managed as a team. Every one is same in terms of merit, that’s why they are a part of the team. Every one has potential, which can be deployed at an individual and collective level. Let’s hold our fanaticism for a while. Let’s give Team India breathing space and time and I am sure they will strike back.

2 thoughts on “For god’s sake – no hierarchies in cricket!

  1. Its funny you mention hierarchy… was just reading Prey – Michael Crichton… good book so far.

    But a related phenomenon he talks about is ‘how human beings expected to find a central command in any organization. States had governments. Corporations had CEOs. Schools had principals. Armies had generals. Human beings tended to believe that without central command, chaos would overwhelm the organization and nothing significant could be accomplish.’

    And he is contrasting this with nano-tech cameras that worked as a group with no central (having distributed intelligence isntead) command, and how the individuals in the book had difficulty deciphering how the flock worked.

    Do agree… some times hierarchy can cause more problems than be a solution. Cricket team… I don’t know if hierarchy is the main problem :).

    – Sonia


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