In sport, and in life, there is nothing more important than fighting spirit. Everybody says they want to win and be successful, but there are only a few who are prepared to push beyond their comfort zone and make that extra effort to achieve their goal.
Royal Challengers Bangalore are battling to remain in contention in IPL 9, and there was a significant moment during our win over Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens on Monday night which provided a perfect example of this fighting spirit.
It came in the 17th over of the KKR innings when the dangerous Andre Russell cut a delivery from Yuzvendra Chahal uppishly. Most fielders would have been content to take the ball on the bounce and return it to the wicketkeeper. But that was not going to be good enough for the RCB fielder on the cover boundary. He sprinted towards the ball and, with no thought about his safety, dived forward in an attempt to make what would have been an unbelievable catch.
The ball fell fractionally short, bounced and instantly split the webbing on his left hand. Even in pain, the fielder leapt to his feet and threw the ball back to the keeper. Evan Speechly, the RCB physiotherapist, immediately ran onto the field to provide medical assistance. Evan knows all about fighting spirit because he worked with the famous Springbok rugby squad that won the World Cup in 1995, and he offered a towel to soak up the blood.
“Don’t worry, it’s fine,” said the fielder, already sprinting towards the pavilion, where he would require six stitches for the wound.
Why did this moment matter? It mattered because, in those few seconds, in the heat of a must-win match, each of the other 10 RCB players positioned around the field at the Eden Gardens watched what happened and felt inspired to do whatever was required. If he is prepared to fight like that, so am I, they thought. If he cares so much, so do I, they thought.
It so happens that the fielder who showed such magnificent fighting spirit is also our captain, the man currently breaking all IPL batting records --- Virat Kohli.
The writer is an RCB batsman