Photo via Flickr

In 2011, India won the Cricket World Cup, a tremendous achievement that was celebrated ecstatically by a country that treats the game like a religion.

At the fore-front of their win was the “Little Master,” Sachin Tendulkar.  One of the greatest batsmen in history, this was Sachin’s sixth World Cup and his first win, adding to his already long list of cricketing accomplishments.

He is the leading run scorer in both Test Cricket and One-Day Internationals, and even in the twilight of his career is still one of the most feared batsmen going around. 

What can we learn from Sachin Tendulkar?

Talent’s not enough.  While playing cricket at school in his home city of Mumbai, Sachin developed an early reputation as a batting prodigy.  In 1988, he scored a century in every innings he played and shared a partnership of 664 with team-mate and future Indian batsman Vinod Kambli. 

Kambli was a similarly talented batsman who played 17 tests and scored two double centuries, but he was unable to sustain his brilliance and played his last match for his country at the age of 24.  Tendulkar however, has continued to work on his game and maintain an insatiable thirst for runs, resulting in a prolific and long-lasting career.

What about you? 

Do you have the talent, but not the desire? 

Did you show glimpses of brilliance early in your career, but didn’t continue to develop your skills? 

Relying on talent alone is very dangerous and all successful people have combined their natural abilities with a resourceful attitude, hard work and consistent performance.

Be conscious of your body language.  Sachin only stands 5 feet and 5 inches tall, so he’s not the most intimidating physical specimen, but when he marches out to bat, he does so with a quiet air of authority that soon lets the opposition know who’s in charge.  There’s no excessive chest thumping, just a perfectly composed individual who displays a clear intent to take control from the first ball that he faces.  He holds his head high, his shoulders back and has a slow, relaxed gait that puts him in the right frame of mind for high performance.

We need to be conscious of our body language as well.  If you approach your work with your shoulders slumped, your eyes avoiding others and your feet shuffling, you won’t be as resourceful or energetic as if you are marching into the office with a broad smile, solid posture and warm greetings for everyone you meet.

Prepare for your next challenge.  A few years ago, while preparing for the Australian team to tour, Sachin was aware of the tactics of his great rival, leg-spinner Shane Warne.  He knew that the winner of this individual battle would go a long way towards winning the series for his country.  In practice, Sachin demanded that he have leg-spinners bowl around the wicket into a rough area on the pitch to assist in his preparation.  It wasn’t just his hands, feet and eye that he was preparing, but his mind as well.  He knew that if he felt well-prepared in the nets, then he would be able to thrive under the glare of competition.  And he did! 

Despite terrorising every other country in test cricket, Warne’s bowling average against India was a full 22 runs higher than his overall career average, whilst Tendulkar’s average against the Australians is above his overall average, despite the Australians being the dominant side in world cricket for most of his career.  He prepared himself physically and mentally and thrived as a result.

What is your next challenge?  Is there a next step in your career, your weight, your church or your craft that you should be preparing yourself for now?  Is there a course, a book or a mentor that can help you to rise to the challenge.  Doing the hard work now will make it easier to take the step when the opportunity comes for you to shine.

Sachin inspires me by making the most of his talent over a long career, by his confident demeanour and the thorough preparation that he uses for every challenge.  How does he inspire you?

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