IPL: A Liability or Asset for Indian Cricket?

The Indian Premier League (IPL), as a Twenty20 cricket tournament, was founded by business and cricket tycoon of India, Lalit Modi, the then vice-chairman of the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) in 2008. The very next year the IPL was shifted to South Africa for the UPA government couldn’t give security assurance thanks to the overall Elections-2009.

After the third edition in 2010, the BCCI suspended Lalit Modi because of a plethora of allegations and cross allegations that culminated in 2013 when the BCCI banned him for all times after a series of investigations. He shifted to London in 2010 and has been living there since. Meanwhile, the IPL has emerged together of the most important cricket tournaments of the planet in terms of chiefly money-by the billions. You can see the Latest update about IPL on http://fancyodds.com/.

From its inception, many cricket purists including stalwarts and even politicians criticized it as ‘commercialization’ of cricket with buying and selling of cricketers from across the planet, called auction in moderate-term, and teams consisting of Indian icons, young Indian cricketers and international cricketers supported their ‘price’ which was calculated as per their performances or potential. because of its money-spinning ability and increasing popularity among popcorn cricket revelers, the BCCI adopted the IPL together of their ‘must’ activities and visited lengths sometimes, lobbying for it internationally.

Even within the post-2010 period, the IPL was never obviated controversies including match-fixing and therefore the like resulting in the banning of franchises or teams from the tournament on a couple of occasions. However, the IPL grew and grew in importance, because international cricketers also began relying on it thanks to the cash they stood to earn. National pride and franchise loyalties came into the clash.

Thanks to the IPL, an ocean of ‘talents’ opened before the national selectors, and IPL became a somewhat ‘entrance test’ to seek out an area within the national team. within the roughly two-year period before the ICC Cricket World Cup-2019 Team India was ‘different’ in almost every match played by them-in any format. within the name of ‘finding the right team for the planet Cup’ a process of experimentation began that clothed to be endless-and often mindless with players of dubious record finding repeated chances to play within the national team. a man-made syndrome called ‘the number-4 batsman’ was also created to justify this. As a part of this process, various ‘lobbies’ also began to make around certain ‘talented’ young cricketers with even cricket stalwarts joining these.

With the ICC T20 World Cup-2020 but a year away, the experimentation process started again with the IPL becoming the all-important platform to pick from. within the first T20I match against Bangladesh on 3rd November 2019 in Delhi Team India didn’t appear as if a national team-it was more like an IPL franchise. That the match was lost was a foregone conclusion-notwithstanding the very fact that Bangladesh was playing without Shakib and Tamim.

If such mindless IPL-centric experimentation goes on unabated only Team India and many fans are set to suffer from the syndrome of snatching defeats from inevitable victories aside from demoralizing numerous other tested cricketers. The essence of IPL is commerce, and it must be accepted by all stakeholders. Domestic cricket should revisit its lost relevance. during this context, it’s reassuring to ascertain the new BCCI President Sourav Ganguli giving such a promise for a replacement era of Indian cricket.

Else, the IPL will still be an excellent asset in terms of money-spinning, and a liability in terms of Team India’s winning ability at the international level. This writer had expressed the opinion earlier that any cricketer who excels in Test cricket can easily excel altogether formats of the game-it is proved by numerous legendary players. The upcoming introduction of the day-night cricket Test with the pink ball between India and Bangladesh in India this month is sure to increase interest within the classical format.

Peak Performance in Sports

In the sports arena, peak performance in sports has always been a much sought after state by players and coaches of all levels. Whether the athletes are school boys soccer players or Olympians striving for their Gold medals, peak performance in sports has always attracted athletes and coaches alike.

In our modern age of sports, where sports science is at a stratospheric level and rising, what are the factors that when applied correctly can lead sports participants to peak performance in sports? Are there secrets to sporting excellence? Are these factors easily manipulated for the benefits of the athletes? This article discusses the factors that can lead athletes and coaches to peak performance in sports.

There has been many articles and books detailing principles, programs, success factors and the like that can lead to peak performance in sports. Many authors have written at length about them and in many ways, the principles and factors are universal. The principles of progressive resistance, variety, goal specific training, recovery, etc are all undisputed underlying reasons that allows athletes to achieve peak performance in sports.

This article goes a step further by exploring these universal factors in a different light. In the process, I hope to give athletes and coaches alike how to practically apply these principles and which are the factors with higher weightage in terms of achieving success and peak performance in sports.

There are basically two set of factors we need to look into. Technical and human factors. Let us take a look at the former set of factors first;

Technical Factors

1. Quality Preparation
2. Mastering Individual Skills
3. High Fitness Levels
4. Understanding Overall Team Play
5. Filling Up Key Positions of the Team
6. Minimise Errors in Games

1. Quality Preparation

The hard work for any sports season begins with the preseason training which is very intensive. No body likes this season, as the work and training required is often very boring and painful. But this has to be done for the athletes to be optimally prepared for the rigours of the competitive phase. The endurance, strength, speed and skill volumes must be done. Not just the volume of work, but how much quality is put into the preparation phase is vital as well.

When players cut corners and put in training at face value without their heart and soul, it will show up later in the competition as fatigue, injuries or lack of sharpness in their performance. Peak performance in sports cannot be possible under such circumstances. The quality of preseason preparation is even more important in youth sports.

Very often in schools, the playing seasons for many sports start almost immediately when the school year starts. With our children away for long vacations, our athletes very often return to school to face competitions with very little training time. Team play, fitness building and mental preparation are supposed to be done in 2-3 weeks, which in a sports world is almost impossible and impractical. This kind of preparation is also detrimental to the development of our children.

Under these circumstances, coaches and teachers (and parents if possible) have a very important responsibility to ensure that our athletes are well prepared for competition. Training programmes for sports ought to be drawn up and implemented at year’s end previously. Our athletes need to understand that that their season effectively began when their examinations are over. With a training programme started, coaches and teachers can than instruct athletes about a vacation training programme as well.

Each athlete should have one whereby, they can do something to improve their playing abilities during their break away from school. It could include things like maintain a certain standard of fitness through endurance activities like cycling, running or swimming, playing catch and pitching in the backyard with their siblings, or even individual practices to improve certain skills.

The main thing here is to preserve and improve what has been attained in the preceding season, so that athletes do not return back to school and start from scratch. Simply planning and training this way will ensure quality preparation for the sports teams to attain peak performance in sports later.

2. Mastering Individual Skills

In all sports and games, there are certain skill sets and skills that are considered basic and necessary. These must be achieved by athletes before they can play at a higher level later. In basketball, dribbling and executing a proper lay-up are crucial. Throwing, catching and fielding skills are a must in baseball and softball. The push-pass and receiving a pass are necessary skills in hockey and floor ball. The list goes on. In preseason training, or at the earliest playing stage, these essential skills must be made known to our young players, and all efforts and time must be spent on mastering these basic skills.

Without these skills, a coach will find it very difficult to execute more complex team plays to achieve peak performance in sports. If strikers cannot even control a long pass from a teammate, how can we expect the same player to hold up the ball well up field against oppositions defenders and execute lay-off passed to oncoming teammates in support. It will be wise for coaches to develop these skills early and also for players to keep improving themselves in these skills even though they might feel that they are good enough already.

Even at professional levels, these basic skills for their sports is important for peak performance in sports. The repertoire of skills required and the intensity of how these skills are performed at the highest levels are even more acute.

At the highest levels where opponents are very evenly match in all areas, one mistake can often result in a win or loss. It is even more important for professionals to master all the skills required of the game or sports. Only under such intense conditions can peak performance in sports be possible.

3. High Fitness Levels

At high school levels, many athletes would not have reached their maximal physical development yet no matter how much they train. Physiologically speaking, the development in this area in youths is very varied. Some children reach a high fitness standard faster than others, while others have body types that will only respond to training optimally when they get older. Hence, it can be assumed that a team with the fittest group of players will have the most advantage.

No matter how skillful your opponents are, if you are fitter than him or her, you will be able to overcome your lack of fitness by reacting rapidly to overcome your short fall. Let’s say, you are out dribbled by a more skillful opponent in soccer. But if you are fitter than your opponent who have just out-dribbled you, you will be able to track back fast enough to cover your position again.

This edge in fitness for youth is very important at the later stages of the game too, as players tend to tire faster at this age. A fitter team will definitely be able to prevail and score more later in the game. Players at this age need to be convinced of this need for fitness, and be encouraged to do whatever they can to attain the highest level of fitness possible.

How about professionals? Without a doubt, professional athletes are expected to possess fitness at the highest levels. If they are not, their opponents will be and consequently, they will outperform them and reach their peak performance in sports. Generally speaking, professional sportsmen know how to get into great shape and maintain that till the end of the season. Their physical bodies are also in the best state to be developed to their fullest potential.

4. Understanding Overall Team Play

The next factor of great importance in achieving peak performance in sports is understanding the overall team play by the players. Imagine a coach telling his charges to clear the balls down the flanks in any invasion game. You will be surprise how many players actually understand why they are told to do this. More often than not, the players will just do what is required or told by the coaches. The understanding behind their action is very often very little.

They might not know that by playing the ball down the flanks or wing, it actually forces the opponents defence to spread wider, thus leaving more gaps in the middle for the attacker to exploit subsequently. Another statistically advantage is that plays down the flanks generally result in the attacker getting the ball back if it is knocked out of bound. That is why, you often hear players or coaches shouting to their charges to ‘throw it down the line’.

Young players love the direct route to goal and very often that means playing through the middle. Whatever is taught in tactics to the players, coaches must make every effort to explain and make sure that all the players understand the tactical significance of their plays. This form of coaching if done properly, makes the players better players and improve their decision making on the pitch. And we are always looking for more thinking players in our pitch which will give the team a higher chance of achieving peak performance in sports.

5. Filling Up Key Positions of the Team

The fifth factor that can produce peak performance in sports is actually finding the right players to fill up the most key positions of the team first. In any sport teams, there will be key positions that must be filled first. The point guard in a basketball team is the driver of the team. he controls all plays. A centre in ice-hockey is pivot in both defense and attack, hence he must be the best and fittest and most abled player. The catcher in baseball is the key man, as he dictates and calls the pitches, and also sees the entire fielding situation. These key positions must be filled first, even if it means fielding someone out of position. I use to have a very talented and strong striker who loves to score goals.

Unfortunately, I also have a big gap in goal-keeping and he happens to be the best handler of balls in the team. After much persuasion and sacrifice, he finally converted to a goal-keeper. Thanks to his selfless act, the team did extremely well as very few goals were scored against us. It was not easy to make this move.

But as the coach than, I felt that the goal-keeper is too important a player to let any Tom, Dick or Harry player, hence it must be the best. These result was the least number of silly errors from our goal-keeping department and that gave the team a much better chance to win games.This brings us to the last technical factor that influence peak performance in sports – making fewest errors.

6. Minimise Errors in Games

In sports these days, errors often decide the outcome of the game. Errors will be more plentiful at youth and children levels. The fact that children are playing at lower technical and tactical levels makes it inevitable that errors will be made. The team that makes the fewest errors in any game will generally perform at their peak. Its a mentality that must be drilled into players to make the fewest error individually as well as as a team. If you do not believe this, watch your next game with a watchful eye over how goals or points are scored. More often than not, you will realize that a goal started from an error from the opponents somewhere.

Or a point or run is a result of some players fumbling the ball. Making many silly errors will not lead a team to peak performance in sports. A team that is doing well makes the fewest errors. So coaches, make sure you train your players to understand this and do the right things in the game. Show them evidence through videos or live games, and they will be convinced that the team with the fewest errors win games and peak in their sports performance.

So far we have discussed the technical factors that will lead your team to peak performance in sports. Coaches and players must make sure that these factors are well looked into to ensure that your teams will attain peak performance in sports. Otherwise, it will be a waste of effort and time no matter how talented the team and players are.

In trying to achieve peak performance in sports, human factors are also very important. Understand and master these factors, and success and peak performance in sports is almost a sure thing. But very often these factors are often the hardest to achieved. Here we are drawing on the qualities of human beings to excel in different areas in order for them to reach their peak performance in sports.

Very often, these qualities form the foundation of all athletic performances in sports. The players and coaches will find mastering these factors most difficult because we are dealing with intangible elements of human nature. Its easy to improve on your pitching skills, but to improve team spirit it has a lot more to do with just practicing a skill.

Fortunately, we only need to focus on two human factors here in order to achieve peak performance in sports.

Human Factors

1. Players’ Dedication and Commitment
2. Team Work and Team Spirit

The first factor deals with having dedicated and committed players. This is very much an individual player factor, but it is also the coach’s responsibility to reap the highest commitment and dedication from each player. We all know that every player is different, hence it requires different strategies to motivate different players. For some players, simply setting goals, both team and individual goals, will suffice because maybe the players themselves are already intrinsically motivated.

For players with poor motivation and a star attitude, some form of carrot and stick methods might be required to get the most out of them. Whatever the strategies, failure to get the highest commitment and dedication from players will mean that training and match play will not be optimum thus resulting in poorer peak performance in sports.

The second human factor that leads to peak performance in sports is team work and team spirit. When a team is able to work together to a level whereby players’ understanding is so good, than the team will have reach the ultimate potential. Not just will tactical plays be good all round, but the effort to play for each other in the team will be so high that the level of satisfaction and sacrifice will be so immense that team play will improve. Players are willing to run and cover for each other more, and there is almost a magical factor in the team play. Team effectiveness will improve. Players will not be playing for selfish reasons but rather for the common team goals.

History provides wonderful elements for us to see team work in action. Very often, it was not teams with the most skills that won the competitions, but rather, the teams with the greatest team spirit and team work, When players are willing to set aside personal differences to play for greater team goals. In Euro 2004, Greece was not the team with the greatest fair or skills,but they still won, because the coach was able to mold a team of seemingly nobody into a cohesive unit that was willing to play hard for each other.

Training and reaching peak performance in sports is very often the dreams and aspirations of many coaches and players. At all levels of sports, from high school to professional, all athletes and their coaches want to achieve their peak performance in sports. It is a inner desire of human to succeed and be the best. Being the best requires not just skill, but also certain technical and human factors that can be manipulated for the benefits of achieving peak performance in sports. These factors are important for any sports fans striving for peak performance in sports.

Modern Trends in Sports Administration and Management

One of the major factors militating against the development of sports in Nigeria today is lack of effective management. A lot of solutions are being proffered by concerned and patriotic Nigerians daily to bail us out the quagmire. One of such solutions is this text entitled “Modern Trends in Sports Administration and Management”. It is written by Dr. Joseph Awoyinfa, a lecturer in the Department of Human Kinetics and Health Education, Faculty of Education, University of Lagos, Nigeria; a researcher and educational consultant. I was the person invited by the author and the university to review the book when it was presented to the public on December 4, 2008 in Nigeria.

According to Awoyinfa, it is a truism all over the world that sport is now a reference issue which can no longer be ignored at various sectors of the economy and spheres of life. The author adds that this text thus takes a critical look at topical issues in sports administration and management, dwelling on theories and principles of modern trends in sports administration and management such as leadership, organisation, planning, motivation, etc.

The text contains 16 chapters. Chapter one is christened “the concept of sports management”. Here, Awoyinfa says management is a concept that implies different things to different people at different times, thus leading to its multiplicity of definitions. He explains that management has been variously described as an art, a science, a person or people, a discipline and a process.

This author expatiates that as an art, sports management is all about carrying out sports organisational functions and tasks through people; while as a science, sports management is about establishing sports philosophy, laws, theories, principles, processes and practices. As an organisation, according to him, sports management is defined as a means of creating formal structures and an establishment based on a mission, objectives, targets, functions and tasks.

Awoyinfa says as a person or group of people, sports management may refer to the head alone or to all the senior staff, committee, etc.; while as a discipline, management is a field of study with various subjects and topics. The author illuminates that sports management as a process is about a systematic way of doing things. Awoyinfa highlights management functions in sports administration as planning, organising, staffing, directing/leading, controlling, coordination, budgeting and evaluation. On whom a sports manager is, this author educates that a sports manager is anyone at any level of sport organisation who directs
the efforts of other people towards the achievement of organisational goals sport-wise.

Chapter two is based on the subject matter of evolution and trends of sports management thought. Here, Awoyinfa discloses that the development of thoughts on sports management dates back to the days when people first attempted to accomplish goals by working together in a group. In his words, “There was serious thinking and theorising about managing many years before the dawn of the twentieth (20th) century, which marked the beginning of modern sports management thought. Major efforts to develop theories and principles of sports management began from the early twentieth (20th) century with the work of Frederick Taylor and Henri Fayol. The industrial revolution of the nineteenth (19th) century probably provided the climate for this very serious theorising.”

Awoyinfa adds that since the turn of the 20th century, writers on sports management and business theory have been propounding different theories about how to manage work and personnel more efficiently and effectively. This author educates that the three main schools of management thought are: the classical; the human-behavioural; and the integrative. Awoyinfa also highlights early sports management theorists; principles and characteristics of scientific management; appraisal of the scientific management theory, etc., in this chapter.

Chapter three is thematically labelled “principles of sports management”. In this chapter, the educational consultant explains that sports principles are the basic laws on which the practice of sports management is built. He adds that management principles must therefore be based on general terms for them to be applicable within sport organisations of varying sizes and character. “Modern sports managers and administrators are expected to be able to identify and use appropriate principles that are relevant to particular situations. This is because no single principle can suit all administrative situations,” submits Awoyinfa.

He says the fundamental principles of sports are those applicable to all sports organisations and as a result of their general acceptability, they are sometimes referred to as “universal principles of sports management”. This author expatiates that some of these principles are: responsibility; delegation of authority and communication. As regards humanitarian principles of sports management, Awoyinfa identifies these as democracy, justice, human relations, sympathy, empathy, consideration and humility.

In chapter four based on the concept of behavioural and motivational theories in sports organisation, the author says human beings are unique creatures as they behave differently under different conditions and are mostly difficult to predict. Awoyinfa stresses that since human beings constitute the most important element in sports organisation, sports managers need some understanding of why people behave in one way or the other, so that they (sports managers) can influence people to perform exactly the way sports organisations find desirable.

One potent instrument this author suggests that can be used to elicit performance in athletes is motivation. In his words, “Motivation is something needed in sports organisations to make employees perform.
However, it has been an important and a puzzling subject for sports managers.” Awoyinfa further discusses development of motivational concepts in sports organisation; application of motivational theories to sports management; methods of behaviour modification, etc., in this chapter.

In chapters five to ten, the author beams his analytical searchlight on subject matters such as management techniques in sports organisation; the concept of sports organisation; setting design in sports organisation; the concept of planning in sports administration; making sports organisations more effective in Nigeria and staffing in sports organisations.

Chapter 11 is based on communication strategies in sports organisation. According to Awoyinfa here, communication is a crucial factor in any organisational effectiveness because organisations cannot function effectively when communication skills are lacking among members. “Since communication is the moving spirit in an organisation, its absence may make organisations standstill,” asserts this author.
In chapters 12 to 16, Awoyinfa X-rays concepts such as organisational changes and development in sports administration; leadership in sports administration and management; administration and management of soccer as a coach; teaching human kinetics and health education in schools and colleges; and organisation and administration of schools at various levels of education.

As regards mode of presentation, this text scores a pass mark. For instance, the language is comprehensible and the ideas are brilliantly articulated. The simplicity of the language is expected, given the author’s dual professional background as a lecturer and pastor. To ensure easy study of the text on readers’ part, Awoyinfa highlights the objectives of each chapter at the beginning and ends with review/revision questions.

What’s more, he creatively embroiders the text with graphics (pages 50, 97, 317, 330, 338, 395, etc.) to enhance readers’ understanding through visual communication. Awoyinfa includes references at the end of each chapter to fulfil academic obligation of source disclosure and offer readers opportunities to read more. Inclusion of many references also confirms the depth of his research. His use of visual distinction for the phrase “Modern Trends” in the title is emphatically creative.

If there are chapters that really make this text qualified as a compendium of modern solutions to the administrative and management problems plaguing our sports development in Nigeria, they are chapters four, eight, 11 and 13. This is because they discuss motivation, planning, communication and leadership respectively.

Meanwhile, the thematically greatest chapter of all is chapter four. The fact that it is consciously or unconsciously taken to be the greatest chapter finds practical expression in the deeper communication and cohesion between its subject matter on the one hand and the outer front cover’s allegorical visuals or metaphorical images such as goal post, cyclists racing, a lawn tennis player poised for action with her bat, sprinters competing and footballers struggling for ball possession, on the other hand. These are images used for illustration in motivational discourse.

However, some errors are noticed in this text. The errors are “Acknowledgement” (page iii), instead of “Acknowledgements”; non-paragraphing of the natural first few paragraphs of “Preface”; “Loosing” (pages 396 and 404), instead of “Losing”, etc. These errors need to be corrected in the next edition.

On a note of analytical finality, this text is a compendium of irresistible sports management tips. It is a must-read for all stakeholders in the sports sector, especially managers and administrators. It is simply fascinating.

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