Wednesday 5 August 2015

And.......England have won the Ashes - A Review

Cricketers take to the field, and rest of the crowd who have worked hard and seamlessly becomes irrelevant and so it should be. If the viewers on the stadium, television and members of the press talk about these 'men in action', consider it a good job done! That's what the we toast, celebrate and talk about at the end of each day of the match. At conclusion, when the stadium is empty, we de-brief and talk about things that worked and not worked. Each day, each match and each city provides a different set of challenges.

Two is a team and it worked beautifully in handling the pressures of ever-demanding environment of Delhi. The challenges are multi-folded and when 'two' is also a company, it helps a great deal. Last year, I was given the task to work under David Clarke to prepare Delhi for the IPL. I previously had heard about him but never knew him on personal terms. To me, it was a crucial aspect - I believe 'the efficiency' of the duo is at its optimum best if we could talk and converse besides work related stuff. And in David, I found a great mentor. He loved to share his stories and was ears to hear my experiences. He asked me how I viewed situations and then added his bit if he felt it would be a value addition. This new team had just found a perfect start - and it was in the foundation.

Since childhood, anything that was narrated to me stayed on my mind longer and continues to. I enjoyed this aspect of knowing facts or perspectives. David's out-going personality meant, I was privileged to hear firsthand about his life, his love for basketball, his love for dogs, his family whom he loves a lot, his bike, his work with England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and coming to the business end, his expertise, prior experience and about English cricket.

I call myself as one of the sports geeks and each tale he shared with me was amazing. One such happened to be about the Ashes 2005.  I was rooting for the underdogs 'England' as it was time the Ashes shifted hands.

He didn't tell me what happened with cricket and how a particular player played, instead I was privy to details what went on off the field, the ego-clashes, the politics, the challenges to pull off a victory campaign.

While players had their own set of challenges, David (who was working with ECB at that time) and his team provided a great back-end support. It cannot be measured or quantified as to how big a role it played to help England win back the Ashes. As an audience, I saw the action unfold, read the editorials and match reports - but this a refreshing take on what went when everyone was busy watching cricket.

His book 'and....England have won the Ashes' doesn't capture the emotions on-field. There were better writers who penned those moments. Any event has its challenges and David touches upon what he and his team went through to pull off a spectacle - events with MCC regarding the use of the original urn for presentation, the aftermath of London bombing, motivational hymn 'Jerusalem' which irked a couple of Aussie cricketers and it culminated with the open bus parade at the Trafalgar Square.

I wouldn't reveal further - and I would end it by saying, if you want to know what are the challenges that are involved in hosting a big series across different cities, this book definitely is worth reading to know 'what happened' behind the scenes and how it all came together in a fairy tale manner when England won the Ashes after sixteen years.

Enjoy reading..... 

No comments:

Post a Comment