I have always been a big fan of Test Cricket and despite the fading popularity it currently faces now, it has given me the best memories of my childhood and continue to provide me wisdom and guidance on my journey in life .
The most exciting part of a test cricket is when a new batsman walks in the crease , is surrounded by fielders , and facing swinging fast deliveries . But, Test cricket provides him the luxury of not being hurried up to score unless he is well adjusted to the environment, is relaxed and calm to play his shots. He can leave as much tough deliveries as he wants and wait for the right ones that fall in his strength zone , to score. Throughout his innings, the opposition will aim to arouse him by fast bouncers, as well as verbal comments . But , the beauty lies in the fact that chosing his response lies completely in his domain and he is not bound . He can treat these arousal tactics as an injury to his self-respect and become aggressive and succumb to their tactics. Alternatively, he can chose to take the high-road and continues to perform and answer the opposition with his batting without getting deflected at the job he is there to do at the middle,
Life is similar.
We encounter conditions and competitiveness in life similar to a cricket test match. In the rules of the life-game, there are bowlers who are regularly pitching at you with threats as well opportunities. A classic corollary is at workplace , where you will be regularly getting into political situations aimed to frustrate you, excite you and do certain acts . But, with life being a test cricket, you are at luxury to not succumb to such acts and pressures . Unlike in ODIs or T20s, you are not bound by time to score , one is at liberty to leave as many difficult deliveries (the ones which are not in the zone of competence) and chose the ones to hit and still score a double-century. You need to just hang in there, wait for the balls pitched in your zone, and score at your own pace. Doing so consistently will make you do fine in life.
The skills of playing in a test match are different from the shorter formats . Test Cricket teaches all the age old wisdom of patience, mental fortitude and discipline. Tendulkar’s innings at Sydney was a reminder of how mental strength, fortitude and discipline can breed success. He decided to not hit cover drives, as he had got out multiple times in the series playing that shot. To be able to do that for 800 mins in the middle is incredible mental strength.
As Rahul Dravid said “In a cricket career, your life is in some ways controlled for you. You have no control over schedules, you have no control about where you want to play, you don’t have control over that as a cricketer.” Similarly in life, we are playing roles in various games and some things are laid out for you. You dont and wont have absolute control over that . We need to accept that and learn to grow with that.