Home > Features >

Satya Nadella attributes leadership skills to Test cricket: An eye-opener for fans

Satya Nadella was appointed the CEO of Microsoft on February 4, 2014 © Getty Images
Satya Nadella was appointed the CEO of Microsoft on February 4, 2014 © Getty Images

Satya Nadella, the newly appointed Microsoft CEO, has attributed his leadership skills to Test cricket. Abhishek Mukherjee tries to make sense of Nadella’s wise words. It is, indeed, a lesson to be learned for the common cricket fan.

On being appointed the third CEO in the history of Microsoft, Satya Nadella has said something that may stun the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Indian cricket fans: he attributed his leadership skills to Test cricket. He had added the word “Test” specifically. Talking about the most classical version of the sport he added: “I love it. There’s [sic] so many subplots in it, it’s like reading a Russian novel.”

It may come across as a surprise that the miscellaneous strategies being discussed when the Indian Premier League (IPL) — auctions, Powerplays, strategic timeouts, on-the-fly decisions, and many more — have not come across as appealing to the new Nadella. He remains one of those that are impressed more by a Rahul Dravid taking over three hours to settle down — the time required for an IPL match — or a bowler taking four overs to really get into the thick of things.

But more than that, the longest version of the sport involves gripping and drawn-out one-on-one contests inside eleven-on-eleven ones in a way that perhaps no other sport can emulate: the psychological tussles between a bowler and a batsman, two bowlers and two batsmen, a batsman and a fielder can all be gripping enough for the spectators and the players to the same extent as the match itself.

This is exactly where serious leadership skills come into play: Rodney Hogg was so impressed by Mike Brearley’s man-management skills that he was compelled to ask about “He’s got a degree in people, hasn’t he?” Brearley would have fitted into both roles as a project-manager and a team-manager in any kind of organisation.

His prowess, however, was restricted to the longest format: it had famously gone wrong in the 1979 World Cup final. When one talks of the greatest cricket captains of all time invariably the names of the greatest Test captains come up. Running an organisation is, in a lot of ways, similar: one can aim at short-term goals, but the focus is often on taking an organisation from level to level. It will not be an exaggeration to call men like Brearely a Nadella of the sport.

Maybe it is time for captains over the world to take a leaf out of Nadella’s book in a way similar to he has done it himself as per his own admission. Winning matches may not be that difficult, but it had taken a Bobby Simpson and an Allan Border to lay the foundation of a side that had lasted for two decades, and after a couple of low years, are have taken an upward direction as well.

Mark Taylor had bettered the rise, Steve Waugh had perfected it, and Ricky Ponting had ruled over it proficiently. Rising to the top is not the easiest thing to do in Test cricket — and neither is staying there. The four captains, between them, had managed to do it. And all that had involved hundreds of Tests involving thousands of small tussles and subplots: the trick lay in winning over these small battles — something that would culminate into winning the war.

Nadella had understood it: one can only hope that the boards and fans draw some inspiration from his words.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is a cricket historian and Senior Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He generally looks upon life as a journey involving two components – cricket and literature – though not as disjoint elements. A passionate follower of the history of the sport with an insatiable appetite for trivia and anecdotes, he has also a steady love affair with the incredible assortment of numbers that cricket has to offer. He also thinks he can bowl decent leg-breaks in street cricket, and blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in. He can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test

Videos

Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs South Zone, final at Delhi Day 4: KL Rahul brings up sixth FC century with six; South Zone 148/1

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test, Day 3 at Abu Dhabi: Australia bowled out for 261

Don Bradman dismissed twice on the same day

Rohit Sharma looks to strengthen career after an inconsistent year

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone South Zone vs Central Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: KL Rahul century guides South Zone to 184/1 at stumps

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Run feast expected in first ODI in Cuttack

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: KL Rahul completes century

Australia reeling at 239/8 at tea on Day 3 of 2nd Test against Pakistan

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Rameez Raja says he never expected Pakistan batsmen to dominate Australian bowlers

Don Bradman dismissed twice on the same day

Virat Kohli’s captaincy opportunities important in context of India’s succession plans

Rohit Sharma looks to strengthen career after an inconsistent year

Younis Khan equals Javed Miandad’s record of most 150+ scores by Pakistan batsman

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Manish Pandey showing signs of fulfilling potential

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

Happy New Year 1st week box office: Shah Rukh Khan’s film collects Rs 157.57 crore at domestic box office

Beauty Tip #43 — Get fuller-looking lips with home-made sugar scrub

Google extends “Ok, Google” hotword to third-party apps with six lines of code

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Preparations for upcoming World Cup resume as Ind-SL face-off

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Ayurvedic treatment: 7 types of Ayurvedic massages you should know about

Snapdeal faulty delivery: Man orders Samsung Galaxy Core 2 Duos, receives bar of soap instead!

Gmail for Android updated with Material Design UI and support for other email services

After Bollywood, even Hollywood praises Abhishek Bachchan’s Happy New Year performance!

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: South Zone 62/0 at Tea; need another 239 runs to win

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here