Revisiting memories of cricket

What is the main obsession of Indians? You don’t have to be a management guru to realise that it is cricket, lovely cricket. Indians live in the past and relive the exploits of their heroes on the cricket field.

People still talk about the exploits of Kapil Dev in the cricket World Cup in 1983 against Zimbabwe, and Gavaskar’s superhuman efforts in the West Indies. Younger cricket followers in India will talk about Sachin Tendulkar’s unending fascination with breaking records, Kumble’s calmness in the face of ‘monkeygate’, Rahul Dravid’s enormous fortitude and Dhoni’s achievements as captain. 

What Dev Prasad has done in his book, Pitch it!, is to relive all the great exploits of cricketers from around the world. He has gone a step further, as this is a management book, and attempted to link these performances on the field with strategies that companies and business leaders follow. He speaks of a number of business leaders and companies like IBM, Kelloggs and Apple, and large groups like the Tatas and the Birlas. Almost every aspect of business is addressed in the book, whether it is ethics, team work, leadership or attitude.

I am a cricket lover and have been following the game for almost as long as I can remember. This book evokes many happy memories in my mind and reminds me of certain cricket matches that I have watched live, including the cricket world cups. Many of the cricketers lauded in the book, like G R Vishwanath and Kapil Dev, have been my idols. I have watched many of the games that he talks about on TV. So, in a sense, it is a trip down memory lane for me, and I am sure for most other cricket lovers like me. 

However, cricket is only a means to an end, and that is management excellence and the principles that leaders and businesses have followed, and the learning thereon for a whole range of budding managers who may also like cricket. In 342 pages, the author covers a multitude of companies and one has an opportunity to understand many aspects of the strategies of companies that one has probably only heard of. 

I wish Dev Prasad had done things a little differently. I would have looked at a shorter book, with fewer examples, as some of them tend to get repetitive. I might have also focused on the human side of cricket — guts, courage, fortitude rather than instinctive achievements that cricket often produces. Having said that, I still believe Pitch It! is a readable book for anyone who is interested in cricket and has a role in the corporate world.

Pitch It!
Dev Prasad
Random House2013, pp 392

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