Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mallya is kicking his own arse in the IPL

By John Cheeran

Vijay Mallya, the king of good times, is having nightmares. And generously, Mallya is passing on his nightmares to his hired bunch of cricketers.
Mallya is in the habit of kicking arses, and has already done that to Charu Sharma. Mallya’s dreamboat, Bangalore Royal Challengers, is foundering in the waters of Indian Premier League. After having too closely associated with his franchise, Mallya has become the butt of jokes as Bangalore offers little challenge to its rivals.
Corporate sector loves to bandy about the accountability factor. If you do not succeed, you have to bow out. But how you go about reveals a lot about your corporate culture.

You play to win. But you are bound to lose too. Not all companies can register similar levels of growth in the same market. The fact that there is no space for draws in the Twenty 20 cricket can sound a bit cruel to parties involved and especially to former Indian skipper Rahul Dravid, in Bangalore’s ugly experience in the IPL.

You cannot change course midstream. I can’t understand why Mallya is chafing at Sharma and Dravid for having chosen wrong players to lead the Twenty20 charge.
May be it is time Mallya realized that it is he who has made the wrong choices. Once the auction was over, come whatever may, you have got to back your guys, till the last match, instead of distancing yourself from the freefall. When Mallya tells the equity holders that he let himself bypassed by Sharma and Dravid, it shows that he lacked the courage to stand by his own convictions.

Otherwise, Mallya has done nothing wrong, but sadly, he thinks so. Mallya had little choice but seek expert advice from men who are familiar with things cricketing how to put together a cricket team, albeit twenty20, and run a franchise. Bangalore did not lack such people with Mallya free to pick the brains of the current Indian Test team captain Anil Kumble and former Indian skipper Dravid. Indian national team’s bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad is the guru of Challengers. Still, the premium brand Royal challenge lacked the kick when it came to hitting over the top.

To me Bangalore Royal Challengers look much the same as the Indian team that took part in the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies. That team led by Dravid had all the elements and tactical nous but came a cropper on the field.

Dravid is having another crisis of leadership, whether he would like to admit it or not, thanks to a series of choices that has failed to fire.

Royal Challengers have been dubbed as a Test team by the media. Apparently Dravid would have believed that in any format, those guys with sound basic skills tend to do well. But in the short run, Dravid has been proved wrong by Daredevils, Knight Riders etc.

I’m sure Mallya’s HR department will take over players’ auction from the likes of captain and the CEO of the side for the next round of IPL.

Not all crises have the luck of throwing up a saviour and Mallya will have to wait.
Not all problems have solutions but Mallya will have to take a deep swig before he can cheer on his challenge in the IPL.
Till such time, he should ogle at the babes on his calendar sheets.

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