Management lessons to learn from Team India campaign in Twenty20 World Cup

Drubbing of Indian cricket team in Twenty20 world cup has been disappointing and heartbreaking for all of us. As we assess the past performances of this team in multi-nation tournament, the outcome at the World Cup is not surprising. Are they not able to handle pressure? I don’t think so because in last few years, this team has shown great ability to bounce back from difficult situation. So why they are not able to perform in multi-nation tournament including ICC events? They started as favorites & embarrassingly exited. BCCI management more than fans needs to know that this performance is not aberration and probably was destined to happen bearing in mind the approach Team Management has taken over the years. Sport has a lot of valuable lessons to offer, which can help us lead the way in our own professional lives.

  1. You need to create a diverse team- When on song, its mesmerizing to watch this Indian team but when play poorly, they seriously look very ugly. It’s evident from the fact that when they lose, they lose big. One dimensional team member not helping the team-
    • Batting line up- Most of the top 7 batsmen are right-handed and It provides opposition freedom to select their bowling and stick to first choice players
    • Bowling- Most of the seamers & spinners are right-handed. Hence the bowlers cannot capitalize all the available resources on the field. Opposition batters find easy to play.
    • Long Tail and Utility players- The major of all the problem this team has is that none of the top 6 can roll over their arms. All the great team of the past have at least two or three in top 7 who can bowl efficiently if required. Be it Arjun Ranatunga team (Jayasurya, DeSilva), Steve Waugh team (Mark Waugh, Damien Martyn, Tom Moody) or MS Dhoni Team (Tendulkar, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Raina) but the present Indian team has no one with that capability. It always forced Kohli to go with five specialist bowlers which has resulted in long tail. It puts middle order under tremendous pressure & this is the reason whenever India top order fails, they are hardly able to recover & win matches

So, you must ensure that you create a diverse team as they’re more likely to constantly look at facts and remain objective, while at the same time encouraging greater attention to each member’s.

2. Your favorite can cost you your job- The management has backed Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja far too long to succeed as all-rounders but Hardik bowling and Jadeja’s batting is way below par to qualify as all-rounder. Additionally, Hardik inconsistent run with the bat is creating more problem for team India. As a player, he was not performing from a long time, but management backed him hoping to get right team balance and unfortunately it costs them their job. One must be careful backing favorite employee all the time as one day it can cost you your job. King Kohli had to pay the price. You can read in detail about it in my earlier article

3. Design the program to provide exposure and case study– The Indian team struggle has a lot to do with less exposure to multi nation cricket tournament. Of late, BCCI has focused more on bilateral series and IPL and because of it, Team lacked experience in playing multi-nation tournament. Business Leaders in quest for pushing for the revenue intend to focus on cash cow businesses and ignore other revenue streams. When the situation demands for other revenue, team fails to deliver. In last one and half year of Covid pandemic, companies not only survived but thrived are the companies who always keep experimenting & providing training to teams for other revenue streams.

4. Manage team’s health (Mental Fatigue) and Workload– Indian players are playing continuously. Average time spent by Indian players on field is highest among all the nations playing cricket. With bio-bubble and IPL (no cricketer on the planet can afford to miss IPL), Mental fatigue is finally catching up with the Indian team. The same is true for the employees. Management should continuously review mental health of employees and must take timely corrective actions.

5. Treat your failure as a valuable feedback- This team has bounced back from many difficult situations, but one will not always get the opportunity to bounce back as it happened in twenty20 World Cup. There is a trend in last few years and the trend is that Indian team start poorly and then bounce back to win the series. It happened many times including Ind-Aus and Ind-Eng series. While heroic bounce back is well appreciated, the fact is they started poorly and in a tournament like Twenty20 World Cup, teams hardly have a window to bounce back. Why often they start poorly? There is a trend within the trend, which is most of the time, team India got their selection wrong in the initial games. It happened in Australia, when they dropped Ashwin in first test match and in Twenty20 world cup. Corporate world is not as kind as sports, it will hardly give you the second chance so be wise in your pick while selecting your team members.

6. One fixed template does not work on all occasions- Ravi Shastri and King Kohli have created a template to play with five bowlers & five batsmen. While this template has provided them good success, but they also lost badly on few important occasions. As business leader, we must be very careful on forcing one template of success in all businesses. Every market has its own strength and weaknesses, and we must acknowledge while making strategy or choosing teams.

7. Success comes to those who collaborate with adversary- Captain Kohli fielded a changed team maximum number of times. Not sure about the dressing room but the Kohli behavior reflects that very few in the team are secured of their place. The way he treated Ashwin is known to everyone. He chooses to drop one of the best swing bowlers of the world Bhuvneshwar Kumar for England tour. As leader, you must be able to create a sense of security among the team members which will ensure that they rally behind you. Leader must always think about objective and in the interest of his team.

While performance of Team India in Twenty20 world cup is disappointing, the fact remains that it’s a group of very talented people and minor changes in strategy can give rich dividend. Similarly, as business leaders, we may find ourselves in situation where team is performing poorly, but the take a step back and try to analyze what went wrong. Sometimes, the ability to think on your toes while abiding by your core values can make all the difference.

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