Home > Features >

Why Test Cricket is akin to life

© Getty Images
Test cricket, like life, demands that you grin and bear the tough times out © Getty Images

Watching the young Indian team struggle, on their current tour to England, Bejoy Balagopal is reminded once again of how Test match cricket mirrors life so closely.

As the connoisseurs of the game never tire of saying, Test cricket is exactly that — a real test of the players. It tests technique, temperament, patience, guts, grit, strategy, and concentration, over an extended period; like no other game does.

In other words, Test cricket is akin to life more than perhaps any other sport is. Let us see how.

Move fully forward or back: Many a time, a batsman gets caught ‘in-between’, neither fully committed to the front foot nor the back foot. This mirrors the many moments in life, professional and personal, when indecisiveness have left us struggling. Think of the half-baked reports you made at work or the silence you chose when a wrong unravelled in front of your eyes! To say a “yes!” and push ahead or have the conviction to say a “no!” and step back, simple as it may sound, is a challenge that we face every day. So many are those moments when you got to push forward in life, yet be ready to move back and absorb the pressure.

Knowing where the off-stump is: The batsman has a split second to decide whether to play at a delivery or not. And this decision is based on several considerations that need to be factored in: judgement of your own ability, the vulnerability of the situation and what’s at stake. It often calls for you to discipline your natural instincts and say “I’ll let this one pass ’cause I know that my time would come soon”.

This is astoundingly similar to what life throws at us as well, to test not just our ability but the willingness to let go of ego and, importantly, stubbornness. Think back to the times when we let ego get the better of us while driving in maddening traffic, or the casual comment that potentially spoilt a relationship for life; many are the moments when sound judgement is needed but goes missing.

Respecting and overcoming the conditions: You lose the toss and you could end up getting the worse of the conditions to start with. Even otherwise, things could change over the five days — the weather, the nature of the pitch, your health and fitness. Test cricket, like life, demands that you grin and bear the tough times out. To have the faith that better things are around the corner and the strength of character to weather the tough times would determine how well we cope with situations in life.

Shorter, focused sessions: There are battles within the war and you aim to win sessions. Cricket (or generally, sport), at the highest level, is played in the mind and the mind can handle only so much at any time to be truly effective. To clear the cobwebs and be “in the moment” is something we could all do in our day-to-day life. Shorter goals, without the pressure of the larger picture, are much easier to target and achieve. The intensity can be maintained for shorter periods before a new target is set.

Draw: Five days of competitiveness and we might still not have a winner — how boring, but how wonderful a concept it is! It is about understanding that not everything in life is about black and white; it is not all about winning and losing either. Success is not measured by how many arguments you won or how the balance sheets finally look. Some things end in a stalemate and that should be perfectly acceptable. Through the process, there are lessons learnt and notes made to come out better the next time.

Dignity and graciousness: This is perhaps the very ethos of all sporting activities but somehow Test cricket places an importance on it like no other game does (though sadly this is a dwindling aspect of the game of late). To applaud an effort of a player from the opposition, to “appeal” to the umpire, to take the word of a fielder from an opposing team, to walk when you know you are out, to politely raise the bat (or ball) in acknowledgement of the cheers and to shake hands at the end of a game in which no quarter was given — imagine how mankind would be if each of us had this grace, both in victory and defeat.

When someone asks me what this great game has offered me, beyond the many thrills and the moments of brilliance and despair, I would point to these wonderful lessons. Whether I have imbibed them is another question, but then there’s the rest of the life for that, to learn and adapt. Much like Test cricket!

(Bejoy Balagopal is an engineer working with a leading technology firm, with a passion for cricket and writing. He brings a layman’s view on the proceedings combined with the ability to look at the larger picture of how sport plays a crucial role in society)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 22, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

World T20 League 2014

Sep 23, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 24, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 4 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Perth Scorchers won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 19, 2014  at Raipur

NK won by 33 runs (D/L method)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 18, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 5 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 17, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 3 wkts

Photos

KXIP vs Hobart Hurricanes, Match 2 CLT20 2014

Videos

Anderson plays golf with Jaguar competition winners

CLT20 2014: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Lahore Lions (LL), Match 7: 5 Key battles

Before Mitchell Marsh, Surinder Amarnath had hit sixes off last two balls to win a match in England

James Franklin: Barbados Tridents have youngsters who can win games

Kings XI Punjab vs Barbados Tridents, Match 5, CLT20 2014: Highlights

CLT20 2014: Mitchell Marsh stakes his claim for a spot in Australia’s ICC World Cup 2015 squad with late blitz for Perth Scorchers against Dolphins

Asian Games Asian Games 2014 Champions League T20 2014 Chennai Super Kings CLT20 CLT20 2014 CSK vs KKR Hobart Hurricanes India at Asian Games 2014 Kings XI Punjab Kolkata Knight Riders Northern Knights

CLT20 2014: We need to work on our fielding, says Barbados Tridents’ Raymon Reifer

Akshar Patel: David Miller’s words boosted my confidence

Durham ‘Breese’ to final win over Warwickshire in county One-Day Cup

Shahid Afridi to quit other formats to focus on T20s

Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi says his team are not afraid of Mitchell Johnson

Ravi Rampaul: Barbados Tridents were successful in CPL due to good team-work

CLT20 2014: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Lahore Lions (LL), Match 7: 5 Key battles

Before Mitchell Marsh, Surinder Amarnath had hit sixes off last two balls to win a match in England

Nip Pellew — one of the greatest fielders of all time

James Franklin: Barbados Tridents have youngsters who can win games

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

669 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes (HH) CLT20 2014

Doctors not liable for failure of sterilisation process to avoid pregnancy, rules Delhi High Court

Wickedleak Wammy Desire 3 tablet with 7-inch display and Android KitKat launched for Rs 5,999

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan praises Kerala for achievements in healthcare

Haider music review: Arijit Singh, Vishal Dadlani and Sukhwinder Singh come up with a superb album for Vishal Bhardwaj and Shahid Kapoor!

From Coke Zero to Mahindra Scorpio, the changing face of Indian e-commerce

Durham ‘Breese’ to final win over Warwickshire in county One-Day Cup

More nude pictures of Jennifer Lawrence leaked online!

Ravi Rampaul: Barbados Tridents were successful in CPL due to good team-work

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here