What he said:
“What pressure does to you is make you doubt your skills.”
Former Australian fast bowler, Michael Kasprowicz, draws upon his cricketing acumen to chart up success in the business world. Kasprowicz is an MBA from the University of Queensland Business School in Brisbane and now Managing Director of advisory business, Venture India, which promotes business relations for Australian companies in India.
“I was first picked for Queensland at the age of 17, and had a cricketing career of 19 years. Throughout my career, I never looked for the easy option. I wanted to test myself out in something entirely different; hence I went and did the MBA.”
“What I learnt from my career is something I’ll classify in my own 4 Ps—perceptions, dealing with pressure, appreciating that there’s pain and most importantly, possession, the thought that you are in charge of your own journey. In cricket, there are uncontrollables that can always influence decisions—the weather, the pitch, umpiring decisions. It doesn’t matter how well you prepare, quite often, they can dictate or change the result. That lesson in itself is the most important thing, because of the ownership of your journey, you’re not relying on anyone else. You can take control of what you’re doing.”
The pacer believes in adapting his skills to suit the conditions.
“In 2004, (when Australia won a Test series in India after 32 years), we sat down as a bowling group and decided that we had to change it around a bit. We could not be doing what we did at home and expect to do well as a unit. Businesses come to India and think what they’ve been doing normally would work here in India too. That’s not arrogance as much as it is naivety. You have to be flexible, adjustable and adaptable to the market here and also see what the consumers want.”
So how does Kasprowicz deal with losses?
“I’ll go back to my Ps, and this time deal with pressure. What pressure does to you is make you doubt your skills. When all of a sudden an organization or cricket association goes through a few losses, it’s almost like a major GFC (global financial crisis) where everyone starts doubting their skills and questions the way they’re doing it. From a sporting background, whenever you have a few losses, we have a performance review. It’s important to go back and draw the straw man again.
I know the Australians get a bad tag for being sledgers, but all that, when you break it down, is to make someone not think about the ball that’s coming down and to doubt their skills, that’s all there is. There are other ways to make them doubt their skills—through field placements or the Three Card Trick (keep a deep-square leg, making the batsman anticipate a short ball, when the bowler delivers a fuller ball). When you’re under pressure, when you’re having a few losses, trust your skills—the ones that got you there, and the ones you’re the best at, but also have the conviction to adjust those skills to suit the conditions.”
What he really meant:
“When you’re under pressure, you tend to doubt yourself and wonder if you should be doing things differently. If the skills are not ingrained, you tend to revert to older, more tried-and-tested methods instead of continuing with the newly learnt skills. That’s what pressure does, that’s what questioning yourself does to you.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“Pressure causes some people to shut down. And brings out the best in others. How’s that for a cliché? Or would you rather prefer, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.Over to you, Ravi (Shastri). “