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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Learning from 20-20 Cricket

NOTE: For Those who do not know CRICKET Please read the post in Business standard.

India wins the 20-20 world cup, after winning the 60 overs one day world cup in 1983.

20-20 has very interesting observations - for the new world that demands new ways of doing things!

With the new format of 20-20 Cricket comes a very interesting observation on the tempo of the game. Over the years we have seen how one-day (60 overs) and later 50 overs cricket started as a more commercially viable option of speeding-up the 5 days test-match cricket.

With the new format and speed-up the tactics and strategies changed. The tempo of a cricket-match changed to much faster. The level of quick-thought needed, physical fitness needed and planning required in double-quick time increased manifold. This was a sea-change for purists who still said the ultimate test of skill, technique and temperament remains the Test match cricket.

Now comes the 20-20 format, where the exciting parts of the 50-50 game which are typically the slog-overs and may be the initial 15 overs have been carved out to make it the bang-bang cricket. Imran Khan, the legendary Pakistani all rounder made a comment saying that 20-20 is all about Talent. If you have talent you can do well in 20-20. The other two facets, as he mentioned, technique and temperament are sort of neglected or do not surface to the extent they are needed in test-match cricket. MS Dhoni, the Indian world cup winning captain, said the other day, that 20-20 is more physically taxing. Obviously when the tempo has increased so much that even a single over can change the whole match, it is the complete focus and intensity during the 40 overs that will succeed. And as Imran mentioned, the talent will win - Pakistan and India have much more natural talent than other teams, hence the results. Other teams strengths in technique and temperament do not play such a major role in 20-20, as per him.

Now, let us look at what is happening, the business world has been shaken by the Internet and mobile technologies in the last decade or so, ushering all of us into connected globalization. This is akin to the shift to a one day cricket match compared to the test-matches that the manufacturing world was so intent on playing - focusing on talent, technique and temperament. In the business test-matches of the old, one had multiple innings, strategies, and endurance needed to play out the game and succeed. The predictability that you will get two innings to play was enough to strategize and build capabilities in the organizations that can help you to learn from your mistakes. The Internet revolution created the One-day cricket where the time to strategize was less but variation of strategies and innovation needed to play was more. The team work needed to win a 50 overs contest is much more although the focus is only for a day. Secondly, one can not get a second chance. It is the innings that you play that matters. You can not have off-days. Aussies have perfected the consistency needed coupled with talent, technique and temperament as they won most of the cricket matches. Similar has been the successes of Cisco, Microsofts, Google and WalMart in the new game.

The business world from 2005-onwards demands continuous 20-20 games. The focus is on continuous talent in Innovation. The techniques and temperament that has won you the test matches of the last millennium need to be relooked for the new 20-20 Cricket matches that we all will be forced to play - now onwards. We will need either fresh, young, fearless, and innovative minds or reformat the minds that we have been carrying from the legacy of 50 overs or even test-match cricket.

The future is Innovation on your feet based on continuous re-creation of the ways in which we play. The rules will be new, and it is the people who define the new rules who will rule the game. In fact, more surprises you hurl more likely that you will win in the 20-20!

Are you ready to create a new surprise every day? - if yes - 20-20 world is calling you!
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