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Leaders need a bit of madness to get out of tough situations

india Updated: May 11, 2014 00:57 IST
Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir
Hindustan Times
IPL7 2014


One of the ways to judge my mood is through my toothbrush. When things are going well, the toothbrush bristles stay in top form – straight and soft, right out of any commercial. When it isn’t, it seems the toothbrush has gone for that stylish haircut — the-out-of-the-bed look types. Although we won the last game against Delhi Daredevils, but with only three wins from eight games, even my little one can guess how the bristles would be these days.

A string of losses before the win against Delhi ensured my toothbrush sessions were longer than usual. Some bit of cleaning was followed by a lot of chewing of the poor thing. My frustrated mind kept taking me back to the two close games against Rajasthan as my teeth mercilessly crushed that innocent apparatus whose sole motive was to clean them. The tsunami of thoughts ended up causing a riot in my mouth. I don’t know if the scientists have come up with a stress meter but I have discovered my own version of that in my toothbrush. Each bristle is crying out with its story.

The stress meter had it easy the last two days but I think tonight it will be one long, drawn out session. We are up against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday in Cuttack. Going by Glenn Maxwell’s latest loot of Chennai Super Kings, I’m contemplating taking the toothbrush to the ground. I don’t know Maxwell well but I think he could be a very creative individual. He is finding some new angles in stroke-making. His boundaries are going in the zones of a cricket ground which were largely unexplored. Many say that his hitting area is from square leg to long on and he is limited on the off side. Well, I am under no such illusions.

Whether or not I keep a toothbrush in my pocket during the game, I sure have a plan for Maxwell and his teammates. A win here will give us four wins out of nine games. And, of course some peaceful days with the toothbrush.

In between chewing the toothbrush, playing cricket and being with my newborn daughter, I also read a bit about China’s e-commerce guru, Jack Ma. He started out as an English teacher. It was his failed search for beer on the internet in 1995 that brought purpose to his life. Despite the failed search, Ma understood the power of internet and floated a webpage for a Chinese translation service. Within hours, he got emails requesting for more information.

As days and months passed, Ma introduced China to the world of e-commerce. Soon, Ma, who failed his college exam twice and used to sell flowers, was turning his company Alibaba.com into creating what is today called the Amazon.com of China. According to some media reports, Ma’s company could soon be selling its shares. This is expected to make him one of the richest men in the world!

Along the way, Ma too had his “toothbrush moments” when things didn’t go his way. The media also calls him eccentric. He once turned out for a company event wearing a waist-length blonde wig, sunglasses and lipstick and the first thing he asked his 16,000 assembled employees, “Can you feel the love tonight?” Not sure about the love part but I like the eccentric bit of Ma. Leaders need that bit of madness to find a way out of tough situations. It can be through a blonde wig or lipstick or in some cases a battered toothbrush.

The writer is KKR skipper

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