Thursday, October 21, 2021

Winning is a habit, losing too

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By Anjum Chopra

Winning is a habit! The phrase is often used to describe good, consistent performance by a team or individual in the field of sports.

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Losing also becomes a habit. It is these words that one is always wary of. Yes, losing is not a habit that is practiced or desired, but it can unknowingly become a situation within a team.

In the IPL, we have noticed that when things are not going well for a side, they see a downward spiral emerge and it becomes extremely difficult to resurrect things.

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Sunrisers Hyderabad have had a tough going this edition. Nothing went their way from the beginning. With just 2 wins from 10 games, they are placed at the bottom of the points table. The winners of 2016 and runners-up of 2018, this season has seen them struggle to find a win.

A batting order that boasts of world class batters like Dawid Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Kane Wiliamson, all-rounder like Jason Holder and skilful player in Rashid Khan, the Indian talent of Manish Pandey, Bhuvneshwar Kumar have all been a pale shadow of their past. The combination has just not clicked this season for the franchise.

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The lack of form has plagued them big time. The worse being that this lack of form came for more than one player at the same time. Warner, who has been such a major contributor with the bat in Sunrisers’ wins, has struggled to lead them to wins.

A change of captaincy in the middle of the season indicated that things are not the healthiest best in the dressing room. The pressure of expectation and deliverance is massive.

I remember an Indian women’s team tour of New Zealand where we kept losing matches. We had just finished the series in Australia and travelled onwards to New Zealand. It was a tough tour for us as we ended up losing first in Australia badly before going into the demanding conditions of New Zealand.

After a couple of losses and a tough team meeting, we (only the players) decided to all get together in the team room to spend time discussing how to change this losing momentum. It wasn’t that we were not trying and training hard each day, but the results were just not there for us.

After a few deliberations and lots of laughter at our own individual performances, we managed to turn things around and pick up a win in the next game. To be honest, we individually did not do anything different than earlier days; but the result changed. We all did meet again to identify a reason, but couldn’t. So, we celebrated our win.

Yes, our opposition was playing better cricket than us, but we were unable to stem that flow. We were unable to capitalise on the small moments in the game that were allowing the game to drift away. Hoping that the next player will be able to deliver better. The losses kept piling up.

A team of experienced and quality players in Sunrisers Hyderabad will know how to get back to winning ways individually and collectively. It is that winning feeling that is of prime importance and how one can maintain it. The next IPL season is not too far.

(The writer is a former captain of Indian women’s cricket team. The views expressed are personal)



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