Saturday, August 15, 2020
Updated: Thursday, July 29, 2004
Elixir of Fighting Spirit

Ahmad A. Iqbal
It seems Habibul Bashar never had to 'lead by example' as part of his repertoire. How can he possibly talk about team failure with a straight face without ever mentioning how irresponsibly he threw away his wickets? He can't mask his immature plays that are simply unbefitting a captain and a test player by coating his message in the context of the team doing badly.

If he had any integrity, he could have redeemed himself by admitting how he had failed to lead the team. Both the captain and his second-in-command were simply appalling and acted like amateurs.

Even my old Chatgaiya Inter-Para Cricket captain used to show more grit/nerve during a game.

We are not talking about some unfortunate run outs stemming from pressure situations, or about getting out from unplayable deliveries or from brilliant catches...rather, the same old dumb self destructing pokes. Time after time, we see same mistakes from someone who is supposed lead rest of the boys.
Talk of spirit and pride is not mere lip service.

Even Alok, despite going back to his old habit of fishing expeditions, showed more nerve in the Asia cup than Habibul Bashar.

If anyone can talk about pride, heart and leadership and at the same time instill some inspiration among the team, it is Mohammad Ashraful and Javed Omar. Both of these guys, decided to show up when they entered the field with a bat in hand and pride in their heart.

If anything, those two are the ones who should be talking to the team about what inspired them and how they felt when facing the opponent. Against the Lankans, Ash's was a display of the fighting spirit of someone who refuses to give up even while looking down the barrel.

The technique, the talent, and the training ? it is all there. What has been, and is still largely missing, is the spirit and heart of a fighter. Talk of spirit and pride is not mere lip service. No one can inspire anyone just by giving some grandiose speech.

Inspiration comes from watching pride, with the fighting spirit manifesting itself in terms of heroic resistance in a perilous situation. Virtues as such can not be packaged and sold as antidote to the team failure. The players themselves need to feel them and be moved by their sheer power and by making it tangible to themselves.

For some reason, I always tend to find some real life experiences when discussing otherwise nebulous concepts of energy, feelings etc. As an audiophile at heart, my passion has been to always look for that elusive holy grail of high end speakers. One of my most favorite speakers that I had the good fortune to own a pair, are the B&Ws. When their flagship 'Nautilus' line came out, it carried a slogan:

"Listen, and you will See".

The first time I heard those speakers at a stereo boutique, I knew and I SAW exactly what they meant. I was moved, stood motionless by the intoxicating effect of the music coming out those boxes. Those who have been in my situation know exactly what I am talking about. Thanks to the miracle of modern circuitry, I was able to SEE the music coming out of those boxes.

Our guys must learn how to get to the point where they can feel the energy of a proud professional, SEE what pride is, and inhale the essence of a fighting spirit.

Yes, it can be done. It has been done by the Tigers before.

The only silver lining to the whole Asia Cup fiasco is the display of Ash's fighting spirit, his pride in his own ability as a test player; and his determination to show the cricketing world that the Tigers' inclusion is not a fluke. They truly belong here.

The rest of the team needs to drink this elixir of fighting spirit and connect with him at the same wavelength. Only then will they experience and SEE what their teammate has been feeling.

Winning a match is just a by product.