“What do you think? Has Alistair Cook become a high
performer?” Lulu, my parrot, asked after flying in and perching on my table
“Ha ha! Cook had a rather bad time as a batsman in the first
two tests, and he also lost one as a Captain. Too bad. But he is a great
player. High Potential or ‘HiPo’ as HR folks will label him. You can’t deny
“And what did Virat Kohli do? Poor test scores in the two
tests and nothing better in this third. I want to ask you one question.” Lulu
moved forward and looked straight in my eyes.
“How does a HiPo recover his performance level? I mean – how
does he regain his ‘form?’” Among the things I am afraid of are Lulu’s
“Do you have an answer?” That condescending voice of Lulu
was so familiar – it stalls my thinking.
“Let me try and explain. Whenever a golfer loses his swing
or a batsman loses his form he is advised to go to the nets and practice.”
“Everybody does net-practice. That can’t be the solution.
Otherwise all will score well.”
“They say go to the basics. Check your stance. Watch your
videos. Check the back-lift, and so on…”
“Are you serious? Doesn’t every cricketer do it? What’s new?
No! There is more to the story; this must be necessary, but not enough, as they
“Let me rethink….. The
question is - ‘How does a HiPo recover his form, right?’”
“And we noted that Cook regained his form but Virat Kohli
“I think one has to do his best and leave the rest to the fate.”
“Ha ha! You can’t get away with that. I did not ask you to
narrate the message of Bhagwadgita.”
“Hmmm….. It really
beats me. This will need more time.”
“Yes and it will need some silencing.”
“Don’t speak in riddles.”
“You need to silence your mind – the mind which tells
Alistair Cook ‘Look Bhuvaneshwar Kumar has made a ‘bakra’ of me and he is
bowling again. This is going to be tough. I have to be very cautious.”
“I think I see your point.”
“His coach would have told him how to position himself, what
to do, what not to do. And the batsmen like Cook will go for batting with fear
in their mind. Fear of failure, I mean.”
“When Sharma comes to bowl batsmen like Cook will tell
themselves ‘he is going to bowl in-swingers, I have to be careful, I have
always got out on his in-swingers.’”
“Right. This kind of inner talk only destroys the
confidence. We must stop it.”
“Ha ha! Surely you are not asking batsmen to meditate there
on the cricket field, ok?”
“No. They must concentrate on the movement of the ball.
Haven’t you read Tim Gallwey’s The Inner Game of Tennis?”
“Got it. One must kill the evaluative voice in his mind. One
must simply focus on the task on hand rather than listening to and guided by that
evaluative voice. Stop the interference, we must.”
“But will this help Virat Kohli to regain form?”
“Yes it ought to. Why are you asking this question to me?
“He is listening to his girl-friend’s voice when he plays!”
“There is no solution for that problem, perhaps he should
get married!” Lulu, my parrot, winked at me and flew away.