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    On-field communication in Cricket On-field communication in Cricket Document Transcript

    • A Report on On- FieldCommunication in Cricket Prepared for, Prof. Neera Jain, as part of the WAC Course Submitted By, Ishpreet Singh (12P139) Karan Jaidka (12P141) Kshitij Agrawal (12P142) Mayank Bathla (12P149) WAC Section D, PGPM 2012-14, MDI Gurgaon 12th December, 2012
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in CricketAcknowledgementsLike the most demanding undertakings in life, this research would have not taken place withoutthe effort of many individuals. First, I would like to express my gratitude to Professor Neera Jainfor her guidance, support, belief, and comprehensive attention to detail and the broad pictureof this project. Thank you for the various tips and points you gave us in the aspects of reportwriting and our topic in general. They were really vital to see our research reach completion.The team would like to express their sincere gratitude to Mr. Naman Chawla and Mr. ShivamSharma from Roshanara Club, Shakti Nagar, New Delhi for taking time off and giving them toopportunity to personally interview them. Their insights definitely added tremendous value tothe outcome of this report. The students of Management Development Institute, Gurgaondeserve special mention for giving their views and opinions on the subject through the survey.A big thank you to our entire team for putting in long hours to make this research report areality. Lastly, we thank the Almighty for guiding us through the implementation of this project. i
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in CricketTable of ContentsAcknowledgements…………………………………..……………………………………………………………………………………………(i)Table of Images…………………………………..…………………………………………………………..……………………………………(iv)Executive Summary…………………………………..…………………………………………………………..……………………………..(vi)INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….1 Scope ................................................................................................................................................ 1 Relevance ......................................................................................................................................... 1 Literature Review ............................................................................................................................. 2 Verbal and non-verbal Communication .............................................................................. 2 Relevance of Communication to Cricket ............................................................................ 3 The Various Avatars of On-Field Communication in Cricket............................................................ 5 Communication between Captain and Bowler ................................................................... 5 Communication between Captain and Fielders.................................................................. 6 Role of the Wicket-keeper .................................................................................................. 7 Communication between Batsmen .................................................................................... 8 Communication between Fielders ...................................................................................... 9 Communication between Players and the Coach ............................................................... 9 System of Code Words ...................................................................................................... 10 Motivation ........................................................................................................................ 11 Team Huddles ................................................................................................................... 12 Sledging ............................................................................................................................. 13 The Role of the Crowd ...................................................................................................... 15 The Strategic Time-Out ..................................................................................................... 16METHODOLOGY ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………18 ii
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in CricketANALYSIS ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………19 Analysis of the Survey .................................................................................................................... 19 Analysis of the Interview................................................................................................................ 33RECOMMENDATIONS……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………35 Communication between Captain and Bowler .............................................................................. 35 Communication between Captain and Fielders............................................................................. 36 Role of the Wicket-keeper ............................................................................................................. 36 Communication between Batsmen ............................................................................................... 37 Communication between Fielders ................................................................................................. 37 Sledging .......................................................................................................................................... 38 Motivation ..................................................................................................................................... 38REFERENCES………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….39APPENDIX A – The Questionnaire, as part of the Student Survey…………………………………..………………………41APPENDIX B – Interview Questions…………………………..……..…………………………………………………………..……….44 iii
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in CricketTable of ImagesImage 1 – A model proposing the relationship between communication and coordination requiredenhancing team performance………………………………………………………………………………………………………….……..4Image 2 – England Captain Alistair Cook sets the field while discussing with pacer James Anderson….….6Image 3 – Delhi Daredevils skipper Virender Sehwag gestures to his fielders…………………………………...…….7Image 4 – A Pakistani wicket-keeper appeals for a successful LBW………………………………………………………….7Image 5 – Communication between batsmen is very vital……………………………………………………………………….8Image 6 - Australian captain Ricky Ponting and Steven Smith collide during their game againstCanada at the Cricket World Cup…………..………………………………………………………………………………………………..9Image 7 - Greg Chappell with Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly during his stint as India coach…………….10Image 8 – The Indian team huddle up during the ICC World Cup, 2003………………………………………………….13Image 9 – When sledging shows its ugly side……………………………………………..………………………………………….14Image 10 – The importance of crowd support is well illustrated in this image…………………………….…………16Image 11 – The Strategic Time-out timer, as seen on giant screens during IPL matches………………………..17Image 12 – Question 1 of the Questionnaire………………………………………………………………………………………….19Image 13 – Question 2 of the Questionnaire………………………………………………………………………………………….21Image 14 – Question 3 of the Questionnaire………………………………………………………………………………………….22Image 15 – Question 4 of the Questionnaire………………………………………………………………………………………….23Image 16 – Question 5 of the Questionnaire………………………………………………………………………………………….24Image 17 – Question 6 of the Questionnaire………………………………………………………………………………………….25Image 18 – Question 7 of the Questionnaire………………………………………………………………………………………….26Image 19 – Question 8 of the Questionnaire………………………………………………………………………………………….27Image 20 – Question 9 of the Questionnaire………………………………………………………………………………………….28Image 21 – Question 10 of the Questionnaire……………………………………………………………………………………….29 iv
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in CricketImage 22 – Question 11 of the Questionnaire……………………………………………………………………………………….30Image 23 – Question 12 of the Questionnaire……………………………………………………………………………………….31Image 24 – Question 13 of the Questionnaire……………………………………………………………………………………….32 v
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in CricketExecutive SummarySports and communication are two very important aspects of human life. Sports and games arethe means by which humans constructively give vent to their latent energy, while strengtheningtheir physical being and also honing social skills like team work, decision making and leadership.Communication is the most important aspect of mans social behavior. The way mancommunicates with his fellow men improves or derogates his relationship with them andconsequently his standing in a society. So communication plays a key role in the social skillsaspect of sport. Various methods are prevalent in order to improve ones communication skills.However, the one method that can have deep impact on anyone from kids to adult, because ofits fun factor, is sports.Can anyone imagine a game of cricket where the players of a team do not communicate witheach other? What would be the implication of that? Will the players be able to win if they dontcommunicate?In each and every phase of life, man needs to associate and share his views with hiscontemporaries. Communication is needed not only to express ones views, but also to imbibethe views and experiences of others, which is how man expands his knowledge. Thiscommunication needs to be precise, concise and palatable so as to be effective. In Cricket, thefielders would easily run out a batsman if he spends time calling out to the other batsman, “Heycome on run! We can take two runs in this ball!” If this communication had been precise andconcise, the call would have just been, “Run!”On the field, regular practices of communication do not always work. There is just a fraction ofsecond for a player to decide his move and for his teammates to gather his intentions and actaccordingly. A wink of the eye, a grunt or a yell is all that can pass between the teammates. Butthat still works because the players know their teammates, and how they will communicate.This knowledge comes with the hours of practice the players put in together, as a team. Theydevise their own secret codes and signs to communicate the game strategy right under thenose of the opponent. It is important to note here that communication is not just verbal. Bodylanguage, hand or leg signals are all different ways of communication in Cricket.The information that is being communicated should be graspable and non-offensive to thereceiver. Many a times, in the middle of a high tension game, the tempers are high, and theplayers tend to give vent to their feelings by using abusive language on their opponents. As aresult, they end up being fined or suspended and regret their behavior later. Though it is verydifficult to do so, if the players master the art of controlling their emotions, and communicate vi
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Crickettheir objection in a non-offensive manner, not only would they avoid facing penalty, but also,they avoid unnecessary tension between the teams.Thus, in Cricket, not just communication, but effective communication is essential. Theprecision, conciseness and palatability cannot be developed overnight. The age old adage thatPractice makes a man perfect stands true in the case of communication too.Mother Theresa said, “Life is a game, play it”. Sports and communication are two inseparableaspects of human life. Life without either game or communication would be like the altar or atemple without its residing deity. These are the two attributes that add color and flavour to life.And it is only proper that one is used in learning the other. Communication in sports helps us toplay the game better, and sports in communication helps us to communicate better.In the report, an attempt is made to probe in detail the role of on-field communication inCricket. The various existing modes of communication in Cricket are discussed and analyzed andsuggestions to improve them are presented at the end. The survey and interview methods ofdata collection were also used to get a panorama of perspectives from various sources. vii
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in CricketIntroductionScopeA team, filled with the most talented and capable players, will flounder in mediocrity if they arenot able to communicate effectively on and off the field. On the other hand, a team composedof average run-of-the-mill players will be strong contenders every time if they can get theirthoughts across effectively. This is true of every team sport, and Cricket is no different. Effectivecommunication in Cricket is an absolute essential trait that the best teams must have to remaincompetitive and become successful. Though the role of the coaches and the support staff isvery important in communication off the field, this report will focus on the communication,both verbal and non-verbal, by the players on the field. The report will also throw light on thepsychological effects of communication with special focus on crowd support or jeering andsledging. The report will seek to assist the coaching staff of international and domestic teamsround the globe as they emphasize to their players the vitality of on-field communication.RelevanceCricket requires a lot of thinking. Conditions vary, different opposition players have wildlydifferent strengths and weaknesses, and the game can change in the matter of a few minuteseven after long periods of stalemate. Whether you are batting, bowling, fielding or captaining,sometimes a five minute break might feel like exactly what you need to compose yourthoughts. The secret is to combine the natural time you have with a subtle control of the paceof the game. The secret is to communicate effectively at every possible juncture of the game.Cricket is no longer considered just a gentleman’s game. It has evolved over time, mainlybecause of the way the players have been expressing themselves. They now display theiremotions openly, and this has added to the excitement of playing and watching the game,especially in Limited Overs Cricket. They also have to deal with numerous emotions on the field,and sometimes, a sudden emotional or psychological rush of adrenaline by players is enough toturn the way a match is heading. Hence, in today’s day and age, it is not only about setting thefield, instructions given by the captain to his players, small chats between the batsmenbetween overs. It is now about team huddles, strategic time-outs, sledging and many otherways in which cricketers communicate, strategize and play with emotions. The report not only 1
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricketemphasizes the importance of the old-school way of communicating on the field, but it alsobrings out the challenges which players face in the new schemes of communication on thecricket ground.Literature ReviewThe current review of literature begins with research that supports the view thatcommunication is a trained and accomplished skill. Furthermore, the review focuses on majorconcepts and research applications of nonverbal and verbal communication in the field ofcricket psychology.Verbal and non-verbal CommunicationDuring the last 25 years, the number of published articles and books in the area of nonverbalresearch increased six-fold in comparison to research published between 1960-1981 (Harrigan,Rosenthal, & Scherer, 2005). At the same time, verbal communication, as a part of teamwork,and procedures for effective training have materialized as a vital research area specifically inthe industrial organizational (IO) field. A number of studies examined team communication(Bowers, Jentsch, Salsas, & Braun, 1998).Team communication includes a minimum of two individuals and a meaningful conversation inwhich a sender attempts to influence the response of a person or a team (Weinberg & Gould,1995). In an attempt to communicate, a message can be transmitted through verbal ornonverbal channels. The shared information in verbal communication is open, explicit,unambiguous, precise, and clear. Conversely, in nonverbal communication the informationconveyed is hidden, implicit, covert, unexplained, and sometimes, not obvious to the casualobserver. Depending on their knowledge, nonverbal communication can be understoodbetween the team members. At the same time, nonverbal communication is subtle, yet criticalin obtaining information. In particular, Martens (1987) and Weinberg and Gould (1995), citingresearch by Mehrabian (1968), reported that as much as 50% to over 70% of humancommunication is nonverbal. However, these numbers have to be used with caution asHegestrom (1979) noted that Mehrabian’s findings have been misinterpreted and used forgeneralization. Actually, Mehrabian’s formula (i.e., in which verbal channel accounts for 7%,vocal channel accounts for 38%, and facial channel accounts for 55% for liking the person whospeaks a message) is inappropriately used as a common reference stating that total messageand its meaning is being transported mostly by nonverbal channel. Generalizations ofMehrabian’s studies indicate that verbal communication contributes with a small percentage,failing to show that analysed channels were accountable only for communication of attitude. 2
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in CricketWhen people communicate, they rely on different sources of information as they formimpressions about one another. For instance, people form feelings about others based on thespeech content (Krauss & Chiu, 1998; Steller & Köhnken, 1989) or behaviour watching (DePaulo& Friedman, 1998). Sometimes, communication process can involve the receiver of theinformation perplexed because he or she is uncertain about the veracity of the statement. Forexample, when body language deviates from, or opposes, to what is being said, the receiver has‘the sixth sense’ that may be misleading. In such case, nonverbal cues are likely to be moresalient when they disagree with verbal communication (Borgoon, 1985; Borgoon, Buller, &Woodall, 1996).Relevance of Communication to CricketThe communication process in team sports and other domains has several purposes. Althoughthe occurrence of the process is identical in all communications, the functions of thecommunications differ. Communication processes can result in persuasion, evaluation,information transfer, motivation, and problem solving (Weinberg & Gould, 1995). In addition,communication may carry more than one function at the same time.As individuals cooperate, they are regarded as a team. Eccles and Tenenbaum (2004) positedthat cooperation, along with coordination are indispensable in sports where demands outweighindividual’s productivity. Given that each sport is characterized by its distinctive team size,different coordination requirements are imposed in order for the team to perform at its best.One can assume that as the number of teammates increases, the team potential increases aswell. However, data from Ringlemann’s study (see Kravitz & Martin, 1986) showed that team’sproductivity decreased as the number of individuals on the team increased. Steiner (1972)suggested coordination losses as a cause for the decline in relative teammate productivity withincreasing team size. Steiner defined coordination loss as a failure to synchronize efforts in amaximally proficient manner, while yielding less productivity. Furthermore, Carron andHausenblas (1998) proposed that teammate interaction and coordination, either in task orsocial situation, become progressively difficult with increasing the team size. For example, in atwo-person team, there is one link, while in four-person team there are six links to coordinate.If the coordination is performed skillfully, it should result in greater team performance. Image11 is a proposed model that illustrates the relationship among communication, coordination,and team performance. 3
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricket Image 1 – A model proposing the relationship between communication and coordination required enhancing team performanceIn a study of verbal and nonverbal communication between team members, Lausic,Tenenbaum, Eccles, Jeong, and Johnson (in press) found that winning teams exchangedmessages more frequently than losing teams. Also, communication patterns obtained via DataAnalysis Tool (Jeong, 2003) discriminated between more effective and less effective teams.Finally, the more effective teams increased the chances of successful coordination, andultimately winning, by (a) displaying a more consistent type of communication, (b) usingfrequent planning statements, and (c) providing regular feedback by acknowledgment.In cricket, as in any other game or sport, and even in the very game of life, the importance ofcommunication with our fellow players cannot be emphasized enough. Communication isneeded not only to express ones views, but also to imbibe the views and experiences of others,which is how man expands his knowledge. This communication needs to be precise, conciseand palatable so as to be effective. Take the game of cricket again. The fielders would easily runout a batsman if he spends time calling out to the other batsman, “Hey come on run! We cantake two runs in this ball!” If this communication had been precise and concise, the call wouldhave just been, “Run!”On the field, regular practices of communication do not always work. There is just a fraction ofsecond for a player to decide his move and for his teammates to gather his intentions and actaccordingly. A wink of the eye, a grunt or a yell is all that can pass between the teammates. Butthat still works because the players know their teammates, and how they will communicate.This knowledge comes with the hours of practice the players put in together, as a team. Theydevise their own secret codes and signs to communicate the game strategy right under thenose of the opponent. It is important to note here that communication is not just verbal. Bodylanguage, hand or leg signals are all different ways of communication in games.One may wonder where does palatability fit in here. How can communication be palatable? Bypalatable, it is meant here that the information that is being communicated should begraspable and non-offensive to the receiver. Many a times, in the middle of a high tensiongame, the tempers are high, and the players tend to give vent to their feelings by using abusivelanguage on their opponents. As a result, they end up being fined or suspended and regret their 4
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricketbehaviour later. Though it is very difficult to do so, if the players master the art of controllingtheir emotions, and communicate their objection in a non-offensive manner, not only wouldthey avoid facing penalty, but also, they avoid unnecessary tension between the teams.So it can be concluded that in games, not just communication, but effective communication isessential. The precision, conciseness and palatability cannot be developed overnight. The ageold adage that Practice makes a man perfect stands true in the case of communication too.The Various Avatars of On-Field Communication in CricketIn any team sport, a team’s ability to communicate during the course of a game has a directimpact on its success. Communication is the key to teamwork, the difference between successand failure. Players must learn to take advantage of all the information available to them.Tough decisions are easier to make when players know exactly what they’re facing. They gainthis knowledge through listening to their teammates and through sharing their ownobservations and experiences.Good communication helps to ensure player safety, create an efficient defense, and developtrust and confidence among teammates. The unit that learns to communicate well can playwith minimal risk and maximum strength. Create a winning combination by developingresponsibility, exhibiting leadership, and fostering teamwork.Communication between Captain and BowlerThe key area of communication in the field is between the captain and his players. The bowlers,in particular, need to have two way conversation with their skipper to make sure the fieldmatches the line and length the bowler is aiming for. 5
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricket Image 2 – England Captain Alistair Cook sets the field while discussing with pacer James AndersonOften this can be simple. The captain knows already what the bowler is trying to do and setsthe field to match with barely a word. However, either player could make a change based on ahunch that needs to be discussed. The captain must also be sure that bowlers are comfortablewith his tactics on the field too. Good captains know how to deliberately open and plug gaps inthe field and the bowler should be fully aware of what is going on. You dont want your starbowler against your plan because he doesnt know what is happening.Keeping bowlers in the loop at all times is one of the most important jobs a captain can do. Itsdifferent for every personality of bowler, which makes it a tricky task.Communication between Captain and FieldersThe fielders need to keep eye contact with the captain as much as possible. This makes it easyfor the skipper to move the field quickly. It also works the other way, with a quick gesture fromthe fielder to the captain suggesting a tactical change such as moving a bit deeper or closeragainst a certain batter. Most of the times it is not possible for the fielders to hear what thecaptain is saying so he must be able to clearly decipher his hand gestures and set himselfaccording to the need of the captain 6
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricket Image 3 – Delhi Daredevils skipper Virender Sehwag gestures to his fieldersRole of the Wicket-keeperThe wicketkeeper has an important role in fielding communications too. Adjusting a fielder tothe correct angle and informing the captain about a bowlers pace, movement and bounce (thekeeper is in the best position for both). The keeper should be looking at the fielders and makingthe necessary changes with respect to the angles because he will be in a very good position toknow where exactly the fielders should be. The keeper always has a better view of a batsmanand his technique, so he should obverse the batsman closely and should give his opinion to thecaptain regarding the batsman and his technique. Image 4 – A Pakistani wicket-keeper appeals for a successful LBW 7
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in CricketThe wicket-keeper should lift the spirit of team when the morale of then team is down byencouraging his team mates. Also, the keeper should be very active when appealing to theumpire because if a keeper is disinterested in an appeal, then the umpire may sometimes givehis decision in the favour of a batsman even if the batsman is out. He should be vocal whenappealing and at the same time he should not cross the limits or the law, if he does cross thelimit, then he and his team may get into trouble.Communication between BatsmenBatting communication is twofold. The easier of the two is the conversation between batsmenin the middle. Apart from clear calling, all batsmen should know how to talk to each otherbetween overs. This allows them to discuss the match situation and the tactics they arechoosing. For example, telling each other who they think the poor fielders are can lead to extrastolen singles.Its also important to keep each other aware of their thinking as you cross for runs. A quickword as you pass such as "two there" or "push this fielder" can act as a timely reminder. Image 5 – Communication between batsmen is very vitalBatsmen can also protect each others weaknesses by talking between overs. A slow runnermay not be keen on quick singles or a bad player of spin might want to take the seamer asmuch as possible.The more difficult is communication between the captain and the batting partners from thesidelines. The captain on the sidelines has more trouble getting a message out. Not many club 8
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricketplayers need a change of gloves (or even own a second pair) so the top level tactic of sendingthe twelfth man out is rarely used.Ideally players will work out themselves exactly what is needed. However it may not always beobvious. The best tactic is for the captain to keep the batsmen primed for whatever plans theyhave beforehand and trust them to get on with it.Communication between FieldersPerhaps the most important role communication plays on the practice or game field involvessafety. When two or more players are aggressively pursuing a ball, hazardous situations canarise. With proper cooperation and communication, players can operate at full speed withminimal risk. Whenever several players are involved in a play, the risk for collisions is high.Cooperation and proper teamwork dramatically reduce the risk of mishaps. Every team shouldfind ways to maximize the potential of each player within the safest environment possible.Image 6 - Australian captain Ricky Ponting and Steven Smith collide during their game against Canada at the Cricket World CupCommunication between Players and the CoachCoaches need to be able to clearly communicate expectations, goals, standards, and feelings totheir players. They instruct, encourage, discipline, organize, and provide feedback. Andalthough we tend to think of effective communicators as being able to send clear messages thatare interpreted as intended, communication is a two-way street that also involves receivingmessages. For a coach, this means listening attentively. Cricketers need to be able to 9
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricketcommunicate their goals, frustrations, and feelings to their coaching staff. Communicationproblems arise if a coach assumes athletes are interpreting a message exactly as the coachintended. Thus effective communicators focus not only on message content but also on how amessage might be interpreted by—and might affect—the receiver. Image 7 - Greg Chappell with Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly during his stint as India coachSystem of Code WordsAs important as it is for teammates to talk with each other, it’s also important to figure out howto relay information without divulging it to the other team. Having a set of code words ensuresthat every player on a team reacts correctly to a specific situation.Players should get into the habit of using in-game communication habits during trainingsessions. This is especially true during drills that simulate a situation that regularly occurs duringgame play.According to the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, 70 percent of humancommunication is non-verbal. Many times hand signals and a series of signs are used to indicatewhat a player is supposed to do on the field. Thus, making sure that every player hasmemorized every possible signal, and ensuring that the signals are complicated and variedenough so that other team cant pick up on them easily, are extremely important aspects toeffectively communicating during sports. 10
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in CricketMotivationWith the right motivation, it’s amazing what athletes can achieve. When players are motivatedto work towards their goals, it is that much easier to go the extra mile when others might call itquits.Motivation is a huge factor in sporting success. Motivation can influence decisions, learning andperformance in any sport. If a cricketer is not in a positive psychological state, mistakes will bemade in the performance, and he will not perform at his best level. Intrinsic or Self-Motivationcomes from the cricketer himself. These are factors like personal satisfaction, zeal andenjoyment. It is because of personal ambition and the drive to have fun. However, many times,players feel down-and-out and they need someone to back them, to support them so that theycan pick themselves up and go the extra mile. Sometimes, self-motivation is not sufficient. It isin these situations where the captain’s role becomes extremely important.A good captain starts to build team spirit long before the side goes onto the field. Howeveronce the team is out on the field, the captain should continue to instill a positive attitudeamong his players.A captain should take the time to tell his team what he expects of them while they are in thefield. This may become awkward for many captains as they might have to deal with seniorplayers and former captains as well. However, it is imperative that each player, both seniorsand juniors, know what exactly is expected of them on the field so that the same instructionsare not repeated during match-time.Players are bound to make mistakes. Fielding mistakes, fumbling while collecting the ball,overthrows, missed run-outs, dropped catches and the like are very common. But if the captainhas a go at the players and criticizes them, it loses its effect as the team would think here hegoes again. Generally encouragement and praise is more effective than a smack on the wrist.This is especially true when a player makes a mistake. It has been seen that when bowlers arereprimanded for not bowling a particular line and length or when simple run-outs are missedbecause of poor throws and the captain is quick to shout at the players involved, it has anadverse and negative effect on the concerned players. They feel de-motivated and let downand more often than not, they would not perform at their optimum levels. Seeing themdispirited the other players also feel de-motivated and it as a cascading negative effect on theentire team. Nobody is trying to make a mistake and all players feel terrible when they do so.A captain can help his players feel better by making sure there are no recriminations whenerrors happen. If the captain goes up to a player, pats them on the back and tells them they will 11
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricketget the next one right, it sends a clear and positive message out and helps to build a betterteam. This is doubled by applauding good work in the field too.It’s not only the captain who has all the responsibility of motivation and encouragement. Itseasy to forget to encourage players while you are thinking about field placing and bowlingchanges. Thats where a good vocal wicket-keeper and senior players can keep the captain’smind alert, chirping at the batsmen, supporting players who made mistakes and reminding youto congratulate good bowling and fielding. Every team needs a reliable wicket-keeper. As wellas taking catches, stumping the batsmen and performing run outs, the wicket keeper is one ofthe team’s most important players, motivating and inspiring the bowlers and fielders to raisetheir game and win. Its often said that the best sides are a team of captains. This does notmean that there is a committee meeting for every field change. Instead, there are several (if notall) players who show the qualities of leadership even if they are not officially captain. Leaders(whether appointed captains or respected players) need to know their team well. Whenmotivation is lost, some players respond best to an arm round the shoulder while others need akick to get them going.The final aspect to motivating players in the field is to keep them fighting until the last. A teamwith confidence will do this naturally.Team HuddlesEmpowering people is a lot about attitude and behaviour towards staff than merely processesand tools. And that is why often, being mindful of a few parameters and paradigms couldsignificantly maximize the potential of teams.In sport, a huddle is an action of a team gathering together, usually in a tight circle, tostrategize, motivate or celebrate. It is a popular strategy for keeping opponents insulated fromsensitive information, and acts as a form of insulation when the level of noise in the venue issuch that normal on-field communication is difficult. Commonly, the leader of the huddle is theteam captain and it is the captain who will try and inspire his fellow team members to achievesuccess. Similarly after an event a huddle may take place to congratulate one another for theteam’s success, or to commiserate a defeat. The huddle became more widely used in cricketafter the Indian national team used it to great success during the 2003 Cricket World Cup. 12
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricket Image 8 – The Indian team huddle up during the ICC World Cup, 2003Everybody fondly remembers the ‘Great Indian Team Huddle’ during the 2003 ICC CricketWorld Cup in South Africa. This small group activity on the field brought the entire teamtogether and transpired unity and togetherness. It made a significant difference in uplifting andimproving Team India’s performance as well as each player’s spirit and motivation to perform inthe team. Every viewer waited to see the Indian team all huddled up. It was one of thehighlights of the World Cup and it took India all the way to the finals. Seeing the success whichTeam India enjoyed, other teams also began following the ‘team huddle’ mechanism ofmotivation and it has now become a common sight in both international and domestic cricketaround the globe.SledgingSledging is a term used in cricket to describe the practice whereby some players seek to gain anadvantage by insulting or verbally intimidating the opposing player. The purpose is to try toweaken the opponents concentration, thereby causing him to make mistakes or underperform.It can be effective because the batsman stands within hearing range of the bowler and certainclose fielders; and vice-versa. The insults may be direct or feature in conversations amongfielders designed to be overheard.There is a huge debate in the cricketing world as to whether this constitutes poorsportsmanship or good-humoured banter. Sledging is often mistaken for abuse, and whilstcomments aimed as sledges do sometimes cross the line into personal abuse, this is not usuallythe case. Sledging is usually simply an often humorous, sometimes insulting attempt at 13
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricketdistraction. However, former Australian captain Steve Waugh referred to the practice asmental disintegration.Sledging does often degenerate into a nasty part of the game. But at its best, its witty,entertaining and adds character to the game. Some of the best known sledges demonstrate:- When Ian Botham took guard in an Ashes match, Marsh welcomed him to the wicket with "So hows your wife and my kids?" Steve Waugh nicked one through to the keeper off Michael Holding. When Waugh refused to walk, Holding walked past muttering "Once a convict, always a convict". Javed Miandad labelled Merv Hughes a fat bus conductor. A few balls later Merv dismissed Javed and called "Tickets please". Image 9 – When sledging shows its ugly sideHowever, sledging has its ugly side too. Players, sometimes in the heat of the moment, losecontrol of their thoughts and emotions and the sledging incident becomes a fiasco in thecricketing world and the international media. Sledging came into the media spotlight during the2007-08 Indian tour of Australia when Harbhajan Singh was accused of alleged racial abusetowards Andrew Symonds. He was charged with a Level 2.8 offence (abuse and insult notamounting to racism) to which he pleaded guilty and was fined 50 per cent of his match fees.Harbhajan (Mumbai Indians) was also fined $15,000 for sledging in a separate incident duringIPL-III. Match referee Gundappa Vishwanath was not too happy with Harbhajans antics after hecaught and bowled Deccan Chargers batsman Tirumalasetti Suman in the 11th over. Harbhajanhad a few words to say to the batsman that earned him a $15,000 fine for a level 1 offence. 14
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in CricketThe Role of the Crowd“Cricket? It’s just a game. As simple as a ball and a bat, yet as complex as the spirit itsymbolizes. It’s a sport, a business, and sometimes even a religion.” This quote by sportscasterErnie Harwell shows just how important Cricket is in our society. Cricketers always preferplaying games in their home countries and venues in front of the home crowd. This preferenceis not misguided, as cricketers tend to experience a home-ground advantage as it improvestheir chances of performing at their highest levels. The home advantage appears to be universalacross all kinds of sports. Fans themselves believe that crowd noise is the primary cause of thehome-ground advantage.Crowd factors represent the differential support from spectators received by the home teamversus the away team, which impacts the magnitude of the home-field advantage. Other crowdfactors include the behavior of the spectators. For instance, when crowds boo home teams tovoice their displeasure with the team’s play, the home team responds by playing better andexhibits an advantage over the away team after booing. For instance, S Sreesanth said thebooing he received from the Trent Bridge crowd motivated him to do well during Englands firstinnings at Nottingham in one of India’s tours of England.However, the crowd’s booing and jeering does not always have a positive effect on a player’sstate of mind. More often than not, it leaves a dent in the player’s psychology and it if theplayer’s performance has been sub-par for some time, it takes him a considerable amount oftime to regain his form. In a league game, Kevin Pietersen was out first ball on his return tocricket - then booed all the way back to the pavilion. Instead of showing everyone at Lordswhat they are missing, Pietersen cut a sorry figure. Throughout his career, he has struggledagainst left-arm spin, so Hampshire line up Liam Dawson for his first ball. It arrives, it is anabsolute beauty, drifting, dipping, pitching on leg stump before turning sharply and taking hisoff-stump. One ball, one minute - thanks for coming! He returns slowly to the pavilion with yetmore boos ringing out as the Hampshire fans give their verdict on him. 15
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricket Image 10 – The importance of crowd support is well illustrated in this imageApart from these specific roles of the crowd, the crowd’s frantic cheering of every run scored,every 4 or 6 hit, every wicket taken, their innovative posters and banners which are displayedon the giant screen, the Mexican waves, etc. are a real source of motivation and inspiration forour cricketers. The atmosphere in a cricket stadium, especially an Indian stadium, is never shortof electrifying.No wonder thousands of people crowd the stadiums of the world to watch cricket. They have asignificant role to play in the outcome of a game. The way they communicate to the players inthe middle either motivates them to perform better or completely demoralizes them.The Strategic Time-OutThe Indian Premier League has fixed a five-minute period, split into two equal halves, for themandatory strategic time-outs. The batting team would have to take the 2 and a half minutemandatory time-out between the sixth and ninth overs while the fielding side would have totake the time-out between the 11th and 16th overs. While introducing the tactical time-out,former IPL Chairman Lalit Modi stated that its purpose was to allow teams to discuss strategiesinstead of having to spend time on it during the course of the game, and hence minimizematch-time delays. He said that teams can actually benefit from the strategic time out feature.If a team is undergoing a rough patch, taking a time out is a wonderful option which may help 16
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricketthe team to channelize their resources better and come back to perform much better thanbefore. Critics disagreed instantly, saying it was nothing but another channel for the league tomake more money. Image 11 – The Strategic Time-out timer, as seen on giant screens during IPL matchesBut the franchises, some of whom had originally not accepted the interruption openly, latersaid the timeout is necessary from the both the cricketing and the financial perspective. "[The]strategy break is good because you need to get more revenues in it," one of the franchiseofficials said. "Ultimately the entertainment part is great but within a short break you have toget the revenues, otherwise the IPL cant survive."Even if teams agree the timeout is beneficial, some are still trying to come to grips with it. "Youcannot do much in such a short time. You cannot reinvent a wheel," said TA Sekar, director ofcricket for Mumbai Indians, who was with earlier with Delhi Daredevils for the first two years ofthe IPL. "Invariably each time there was a break, players lost concentration. It is quite aninnovative thing they are trying, it may help, it may not."But Sekar admitted breaks were important in the Twenty20 format due to the rapid manner inwhich changes occur. "Twenty20 is a game where execution of your plan is very, very importantbecause you dont have the time to make a comeback," he said. "So [the] strategy break may behelpful because somebody inside [the dug-out] might see something happening which theplayers inside may not see."It’s been four years now since the strategic time-out was introduced and the teams and theirplayers have come to grips with the concept. Whether the feel its advantageous for them or notis still a debatable issue. 17
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in CricketMethodologyTo conduct this exhaustive study on on-field communication in Cricket, a variety of researchmethodologies were used, including both primary and secondary data sources.First, a thorough research was done on the broad topic given to us. Research papers oncommunication in Sports were read and studied. The perspective was then narrowed down toCricket and the communication which happens on the field while a limited overs match is inprogress. Numerous webpages were accessed and data was collected on the existing modes ofcommunication on the field. The research team opined that this was not sufficient and it wasdecided to conduct interviews with cricketers.Interview techniques methods used by either party to extrapolate or provide information.These techniques can be both verbal and non-verbal. A verbal interview technique is conveyedthrough the tone and inflection of the question or answer. The research team had the honourand privilege of getting in touch with and interviewing Mr. Naman Chawla and Mr. ShivamSharma from Roshanara Club, Shakti Nagar, New Delhi and got the opinion of these two risingstars on the role of effective communication in the Cricket field. Studying and incorporatinginterview techniques gave the research team a positive impression about the thought processwhich goes on in an actual cricketer’s mind. It gave the team an opportunity to step into theshoes of a cricketer and compare and contrast his opinion about the subject with the generalpublic.The team also felt that they needed the views of the public just to get a balanced perspective.In order to do the same, the team designed a questionnaire comprising of 13 questions, whichhad the same questions as the interview along with multiple options. The questionnaire wasfloated among the students of Management Development Institute, Gurgaon. The 128responses received were critically analyzed and reviewed. They were compared with theinterview results and a balanced analysis along with recommendations has been presented inthis research report. 18
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in CricketAnalysisThe research team has adopted both the survey and the interview techniques in order toproperly analyze the various aspects of On-Field Communication in Cricket. A questionnaire wascirculated among the students of Management Development Institute, Gurgaon and the samequestions were asked during the interview process of the cricketers from Roshanara Club. Theanalysis of both parts has been presented separately.Analysis of the Survey What is the most effective way for a captain to make field changes? 32 Shout to the concerned fielder 60 Expect the fielder to be looking 9 at him Go to each fielder individually 27 Make hand gestures to make the fielder understand Image 12 – Question 1 of the QuestionnaireIn cricket matches nowadays, field plans are made for each batsman due to which fieldingchanges happen too frequently. In the question, the aim was to find out the best way to attractthe attention of a fielder while making field changes. There can only be two scenarios, eitherthe fielder is looking towards the captain or he isn’t. If he is looking, the captain can make thefielder to move to the right place only by hand gestures. If he is not looking, either the captaincan shout at him or he can go the concerned fielder personally to move him to the right place. 19
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in CricketAccording to the survey results, almost 50% of the people say that the captain should makefield changes by hand gestures only. Around 25% say that the captain should shout to theconcerned fielder to get his attention and make field changes. Approximately 20% say that thecaptain should go to each fielder individually to make him move.The results show that generally it is expected from the players to look at the captain at all timesbecause in international matches, due to the high decibel levels in the stadium, it is impossiblefor players to hear what the captain wants to communicate. Hence, the most effective way forthe captain to communicate is via hand gestures. 20
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricket When a fielder makes a fielding mistake what is the general reaction from the team players? 35 Anguish 43 Shouting Forget and concentrate on the 30 20 next ball Comfort and motivate the fielder Image 13 – Question 2 of the QuestionnaireIt is very common in a cricket match that fielders misjudge the ball coming towards them; theydrop sitters due to which they get into the firing line especially if it happens at crucial momentsin matches like when catch of a batsman is dropped and the same batsman carries on to makea big century. A legendary player has rightly said “Catches win Matches”. It is not about takingcatches only, a good effort while fielding can boost the morale of the bowler and his confidenceincreases from the next ball itself as he knows that even if he bowls a bad ball in between, thefielders are there to support him. In the question, it has been attempted to find the generalreaction of team players on a mis-field and what can be the better ways to handle it.In the survey, a majority says that team players show anguish to the player himself rather thansupporting the player. Approximately 28% are of the view that team players come forward insupport, they comfort and motivate the player. Around 24% say that team players try to makehim forget anything of that sort happening and they help him concentrate on the next ball sothat such a mistake is not repeated. Some are of the view that team players shout at the playerwho has committed a mistake on the field and make him realise how big a mistake he has done. 21
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricket How often should the captain consult the bowler? 7 After every ball 23 56 Whenever the strike changes If a 4 or 6 is hit 42 Let the bowler make his own changes Image 14 – Question 3 of the QuestionnaireA captain has several responsibilities on his shoulders. One of the important things is to supportthe bowler, motivate him and make things smooth for him so that he can successfully carry outthe chalked-out strategy. In the process, it is always very difficult for the captain to decide if heshould go to the bowler or he should give the bowler some time to get into rhythm and makethings work. The decision of how often the captain should consult the bowler depends onvarious factors like the match situation, experience of the bowler, the opponent, etc. Thequestion has been posed because for every captain, it is important that the bowlers are doingthe right things at the right time.In the survey, a majority say that the bowler should be given enough freedom to make his ownchanges as it is the bowler who only knows exactly what is he doing and what is supposed to bedone. Approximately 33% say that the captain should consult the bowler every time he getsclobbered. Sometimes, the bowlers go astray, get hit to the fence and hence, it is the right timefor the captain to intervene. Almost 18% say that the captain should come to the bowler eachand every time there is a change in strike as the bowler needs to be reminded about thestrategy to be adopted for the batsman on strike. There are still some who are of the view thatthe captain should be there at hand with the bowler after almost every ball. 22
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricket What are the harmful effects if a captain keeps on talking to a bowler? 28 The bowler may think ‘here he goes again’ 54 3 A senior bowler does not like A bowler may take it on his ego 43 It lowers the confidence of the bowler and makes him nervous Image 15 – Question 4 of the QuestionnaireAt times, a captain pushes too much while trying to take care of his bowlers. He does notunderstand the needs of the bowler and his communication, instead of motivating the bowler,leads to some unwanted behaviour in the team which can ultimately hurt the performance ofthe team. Still, there are other high pressure situations where it becomes imperative for thecaptain to talk to his bowlers and get the best out of them. In this question, the negative effectson bowlers, when a captain keeps on pestering them, are discussed. An attempt has been madeto identify the loopholes and avoid them, if possible.In the survey conducted, a majority say that a bowler may feel low on confidence and he canget nervous which will make his performance worse. Around 34% are of the view that a bowler,if corrected too much may take it up on his ego which, again, is not the desired behaviour thatthe captain seeks from the bowler if he wants the bowler to perform. Approximately 23% saythat the bowler may have the view that the captain always pokes his nose into matters in whichhe is not at all required. This can be dangerous as in other important situations as well, bowlersdo not pay heed to what captain suggests. Some are of the view that there can be a possibilitythat a senior bowler may feel that the captain is not showing due attention to the senior playeras compared to the junior player. 23
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricket What are batsmen most likely to discuss between themselves? Match situation and further 21 strategies 42 Bowlers strategy 26 Other batsmans deficiencies 18 Identify slow fielders/opportunities 21 in the field settings to score Off-the-field gossip Image 16 – Question 5 of the QuestionnaireIt has always been a point of discussion about what players discuss in-between breaks. It is veryimportant for a batsman to maintain his concentration during his stay on the pitch and there isno person from whom he can seek advice other than the batsman at the non-striker’s end. Inpressure situations it becomes very necessary that the batsmen remain motivated and talkabout light things. At other times, there can be a scenario in which a senior batsman is helpingout his junior from his vast experience like making him know about his shortcomings. In thequestion, discussion about conversation between batsmen is done to find out what role abatsman should play in different circumstances.In the survey conducted, a majority said that batsmen discuss about the current matchsituation and develop further strategies accordingly. It is necessary to adapt playing tacticsaccording to the changing match situations. Approximately 21% are of the view that batsmendiscuss about scoring opportunities on the field. They help each other in marking the fieldersand discussing about how to convert the ones into twos. Around 19% think that batsmen talkabout light things like gossiping about late night parties, etc. just to keep the levels of pressureto a minimum. The same number of people think that they make the other batsman knowabout the flaws in his batting technique, if there are any. About 14% say that the batsmen talkabout the bowler’s strategy and make plans to try and negate any tactics adopted by thebowler. 24
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricket What is the most important role of the wicket-keeper? Informing the bowler/fielders of the batsmans technique 15 46 Gauge how the pitch is 31 behaving and ask bowler to make required changes Vocal when appealing and sledging the batsman 36 Motivate team members Image 17 – Question 6 of the QuestionnaireThe wicketkeeper has an important role in fielding communications too. The keeper is in thebest position to look all around him and see how the captain has set the field. Accordingly, hecan communicate to the bowler, telling him the right line and length to bowl at. The keeper canalso gauge the technique and strategies being adopted by the batsmen at the crease and hencestrategize with the captain and the bowler accordingly. This is why the captain always includethe wicket-keeper in the loop while making plans and adjusting the field. The keeper isinstrumental in motivating the fielders in the event of good fielding by them. He also helps inuplifting their spirits when they are down and out. The wicket-keepers from the Indian sub-continent are well known for their antics from behind the stumps. It is generally believed thatthe umpires take the extent of appealing done by the keeper from behind the stumps whiledeciding on their LBW or run-out decisions. A more vocal keeper is hence very crucial.It is believed that all roles of communication assumed by the wicket-keeper are of equalimportance. However, is there any role which is more important that the others? This surveyresult indicates that all roles are more or less the same in the level of importance. However,people believe that the wicket-keeper is the most instrumental when it comes to motivatingthe fielders and encouraging them to continuously perform. Being loud and vocal whileappealing, sledging the batsmen at the crease and gauging how the pitch is behaving, theamount of turn and bounce in the pitch and communicating such information to his teammembers also assumes significant importance. 25
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricket What is the most important role of the captain? 13 Build team spirit/motivate the 20 players Tell each player his role 10 85 Motivate a player if he makes a mistake Keep the bowler in the loop Image 18 – Question 7 of the QuestionnaireIn cricket, the Captain assumes a hugely important role, both on and off the field. On the cricketground, the Captain is the focal point; all instructions are directed from the captain to the restof the fielders. It is the captain who sets the field and maneuvers the fielders from one fieldplacing to another. However, one of the most vital roles to be played by him is to motivate histeam to perform to the best of their potential. If a player is low on confidence or a bowler hasjust been hit for many runs in an over, it is the duty of the captain to effectively motivate theplayer and inspire him to continue giving his best.In this question, the main objective was to find out the opinion of people as to what they felt isthe most important role of the captain while he communicates on the ground. A clear majorityof respondents felt that it is the prime responsibility of the captain to continuously motivateand inspire his team, not only when a player has a bad day on the field, but at all times. Thiseven includes appreciation and recognition of good performances. People believe that if afielder takes an astounding catch or puts in that extra dive to stop a few runs, he needs to beappreciated for his efforts. In such cases, a gesture of applause from the captain is more thanenough to communicate recognition. A captain cannot only stick to this role. He also needs toinform each player about his role in the team and the strategy which he needs to follow. Thecommunication between the captain and the bowler is also very essential as both need to bethinking on similar lines so that the bowler knows about the areas at which he is supposed tobowl. 26
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricket What is the best way to build team spirit? 28 14 The team should be clear of the goals 24 Team huddles Support teammates in bad 62 times Know each other well Image 19 – Question 8 of the QuestionnaireDespite appearances, team spirit is essential in cricket. It can be used to psychologicallyintimidate the opposing side. More importantly it encourages the individual to do their best, asthey want to do well for their team. Its that aspect of working together to create a commongoal that makes team spirit an important part of any cricket team with trophy-winningambitions. The question aimed to find out the best possible techniques of building team spiritamong players and how communication plays such a vital role in motivating and inspiring one’steam to perform to their utmost potential.In the survey, it was found that people believed that supporting one’s teammates when theyare low on confidence and to motivate them is the best way to build team spirit. This can onlyhappen if there is a prior good rapport among all players, including the captain and the coach.The respondents felt that it was not necessary for the team should be clear of their goalsbecause if they unsure, it is the duty of the captain and the senior players to remind the playersof their objectives. Team huddles, a new development on the field, is still an upcoming trendand is slowly proving to be a very effective way of getting the adrenaline pumping among theteammates. 27
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricket Why is Sledging done? 8 19 To weaken the oppositions concentration To show them were better 14 87 To get under the oppositions skin To lay seeds of doubt in the oppostions mind Image 20 – Question 9 of the QuestionnaireSledging has become parts and parcels of almost all the sports in modern days, and it is quiteprevalent in Cricket as well. The professionalism in sports has increased to its peak and it isgetting more adopted in almost all the nations involved in it. The hunger for win and laurels ofthe nation has made sports-persons, including Cricketers, to discover this unique weapon to useto defeat their opponents. There are various reasons for Cricketers to adopt the numerousavatars of sledging. The survey question aimed to look at and identify these various reasons andto get into the Cricketer’s mind when he is about to sledge his opponent.A clear majority of the respondents believed that the main purpose of sledging is to try toweaken the opponents concentration, thereby causing him to make mistakes or underperformand change the flow of the game. A certain number of people thought that players like todominate the opposition and they try to do so by talking and hence, irritating the opponents.When a player is not comfortable or is new to the game, sledging is done to make him morenervous and force them to make a mistake. A very few were of the opinion that sledging isdone to cause a player to believe that he is not good and to dominate him. 28
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricket What are the effects of sledging? 6 It weakens the concentration of 49 the opposition Brings competitveness to the 61 game Leads to ugly altercations 12 Motivates the opposition to perform better Image 21 – Question 10 of the QuestionnaireSledging is part and parcel of the international game. These days with the availability oftechnology and the involvement of the umpires one cannot get away with as much as in thepast, but it still happens regularly on the international circuit. The home of sledging is without adoubt Australia. The Aussies dont use sledging as a way of blowing off steam or venting angeror frustration. It is a definite tactic to break the concentration of the opponent. They are cleverenough to realise that some opposition players are likely to concentrate harder and be moredetermined when they are sledged. Generally they will say nothing to such an opponent. Theymay even try some reverse psychology and compliment such a player. Hence, as we can see,sledging has numerous effects and to find the most effective of them was the aim of thisquestion.Sledging, at its best, is witty, entertaining and adds character to the game. A majority ofrespondents believed that in the heat of the moment, sledging can get ugly as no player isready to back down. Players, sometimes, lose control of their thoughts and emotions and thesledging incident becomes a fiasco in the cricketing world and the international media. Anumber of people felt that it weakens the opponents concentration, thereby causing him tomake mistakes or underperform and change the flow of the game. If a team is not doing well, itallows a team to get back into the game. But, the pride of playing for the national teammotivates players to dominate a particular player if he has indulged in sledging. 29
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricket What is the most important role of the crowd? Booing the oppostion 34 37 Appealing with the team to the umpire 12 Motivating the team by 45 applauding every small achievement Support the team during difficulty Image 22 – Question 11 of the QuestionnaireCricket is in our society. Cricketers always prefer playing games in their home grounds and infront of the home crowd. This preference is not misguided, as cricketers tend to experience ahome-ground advantage as it improves their chances of performing at their highest levels. Butdo the crowds play such a major role in affecting a team’s performance? Aren’t matches held innear-empty stadia also? Don’t teams win series while on tour? This question aimed to find outhow important people felt the role of the crowd is in a limited overs Cricket match.A sizable number of respondents felt that the crowd’s frantic cheering of every run scored,every 4 or 6 hit, every wicket taken, their innovative posters and banners which are displayedon the giant screen, the Mexican waves, etc. are a real source of motivation and inspiration forthe cricketers. However, people were quick to recognize the negative effects of booing andjeering the opposition. Nowadays, people do not hesitate to bring down their own team’splayers if they have been consistently under-performing. It leaves a dent in the player’spsychology and it if the player’s performance has been sub-par for some time, it takes him aconsiderable amount of time to regain his form. Also, while on the field, the crowd buzzes youand gives you that extra boost, the extra energy. As a team, this helps you in the tightmoments, it gives you a lift when things are tough. Many times teams believe that the crowdcan give them a home advantage by appealing to the umpire. It amplifies the affect and in thisway, the crowd can act as a 12th man! 30
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricket What does the coach convey most often from the dressing room? Match situation and further 5 plans made by team 11 Opposition’s strategy 63 49 Batsman’s deficiencies when team is fielding Identify slow fielders/opportunities in the field settings to score Image 23 – Question 12 of the QuestionnaireA coach has the advantage of being in the dressing room and has access to all the technology. Agood communication system between a coach and his players can lead to a better output forthe team. Whenever a coach sees a deficiency in the opposition, he should be able tocommunicate it efficiently to his team. He can help the captain to make plans and decide thefurther course of action. A good coach gives confidence to the players which causes them to dowell. The feedback by the coach should be efficient as it could assist the players to recognizetheir deficiencies and improve on them accordingly.Most people felt the messages sent by the coach to the captain through the twelfth man aregenerally his and the coaching staff’s views on the match and instructions on how to improvefrom there onwards. The coach outlines his key strategies and communicates them to thecaptain on the field. A coach can recognize the strategy followed by the opposition and predictthe future course of action of the opposition. Thus the coach can make changes to his teamaccordingly, even from the dressing room. 31
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricket What is the most important purpose of the strategic time out in IPL? 24 Regroup if the team is not doing well Discuss future plans 18 67 Change a strategy according to 17 the match situation Only a money making plan of the BCCI Image 24 – Question 13 of the QuestionnaireThe strategic time-out was introduced in the IPL by the former IPL Chairman, Mr. Lalit Modiwith an objective of giving time to teams to strategize during the innings. Each break would lastfor 2.5 minutes and there would be two such breaks during the course of an innings, on thelines of similar time-outs being adopted in Sports like Basketball and American football. He feltthat these time-outs were necessary to give a chance to teams to re-arrange their strategiesbased on the match situation. However, as time progressed, many felt that the time-out was asheer waste of time, and teams could well manage without them. They only added extra bucksto the BCCI revenue through advertisements. The last survey question aimed to catch a glimpseof the perception of the public at large on this issue.A clear majority of respondents are of the opinion that the Strategic Time-out is only a money-making spree being adopted by the BCCI and that it does not add value to either the batting orthe fielding side. However, others are of the opinion that if a team is undergoing a rough patch,taking a time out is a wonderful option which may help the team to channelize their resourcesbetter and come back to perform much better than before. It allows teams to discuss strategiesinstead of having to spend time on it during the course of the game, and hence minimizematch-time delays. 32
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in CricketAnalysis of the InterviewThe research team had the privilege to interview two budding club cricketers, Mr. NamanChawla and Mr. Shivam Sharma from Roshanara Club, Shakti Nagar, New Delhi. The interviewgave the team a perspective from the point of view of cricketers and how their opinion variesfrom the general public. Thus, the team was able to analyze all possible scenarios and come upwith a balanced analysis. The following paragraphs summarize the team’s interaction withthese players. They were presented with the same scenarios as the questionnaire.As cricketers, the interviewees said that they are looking at their captain on most occasions sothat they do not miss out on any instruction which the captain points out at them via handgestures. However, if they are not looking at the captain, for any reason, the captain or theclosest fielder shouts in a loud voice to catch their attention. So, they do not face any difficultyin maneuvering the fielders.During normal scenarios, if a fielder misfields or drops a catch, the other players generally moveon with the game and do not express themselves, either vocally or through gestures. However,if an important player’s catch is dropped or a misfield is done at a crucial situation in a high-pressure situation, the human nature dominates and players do react by showing their anguishand disgust openly.The communication between the captain and the bowler is an important interaction whichhappens on the field. The cricketers felt that the level and extent of interaction depends ondifferent situations. When the bowler is under the pump and is not able to get into rhythm, it isbut natural for the captain to walk up to his bowler and offer him some advice. When there is aleft-right combination at the crease, it takes time for inexperienced players to get into any sortof rhythm. In this situation also, it is the responsibility of the captain and the senior bowlers tohelp the bowler in bowling the right lines and lengths. But, if the captain keeps on continuouslywalking up to his bowler, correcting and criticizing him, it affects the bowler’s confidencenegatively and adds to his irritation, and as a result, he may not be able to perform optimally.There are a lot of issues which the batsmen at the crease discuss and it is very situation specificand player specific. Iconic players like Sachin Tendulkar don’t only concentrate on their ownbatting, but they make it a point to assist their batting partner in any possible way. The merepresence of a living legend at the other end makes a world of difference to the relativelyinexperienced batsman.Talking about the role of a wicket-keeper, he is the person who gets to know best about howthe pitch is behaving. He makes note of that and reminds bowlers to pitch the ball in right 33
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricketareas. He calls out nicknames of the bowlers after almost every ball which keeps themmotivated. Also, he is actively involved in sledging which makes it difficult for the batsman toconcentrate.There are a lot of roles and responsibilities on the shoulders of a captain. But, if there is a needto tell the most important one, it is making players work like a unit. For any team game, this isthe most important thing. The captain needs to make sure that nobody is feeling down, to giveproper strategies and to make those strategies work if the players falter. The interviewees gavetheir frank opinion about the Strategic Time-Out in the IPL. They felt that it is simply a moneymaking attempt adopted by the BCCI and it does little in building team spirit. They went on tosay that there are ample moments during the course of the match in which the captain and theplayers can get together and formulate strategies.Sledging, which has its negative effects no doubt, cannot be done away with completely inCricket. It is part of the game. The interviewees were of the view that sledging, if done in acontrolled way can be a very effective tool in getting the edge. There have been a lot ofexamples in which just a few fiery words exchanged turned the match on its head. Hence,sledging is good if it does not cross the limits in any way.The interviewees said that they really missed having decent crowds in their club matches. Theybelieve that a good turnout not only makes the atmosphere lively but also boosts the morale ofindividual players. When the crowd cheers a boundary hit or a wicket taken, the extent ofjubilation which a player experiences cannot be expressed in words. But sometimes, the crowdhoots or jeers the player which can make him nervous and jittery while on the field. The playershould learn how to deal with the crowd as when the team is on tour, he will not find manysupporters in the crowd and the home support would be lacking. 34
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in CricketRecommendationsIn cricket, as in any other game or sport, and even in the very game of life, the importance ofcommunication with our fellow players cannot be emphasized enough. Based on the researchteam’s thorough study and in-depth analysis on the subject of On-Field communication inCricket, it was found that there are numerous ways in which players can communicate and gettheir points of view across to other players. But many a time, a particular method may notalways be the best way to communicate. The following paragraphs provide a few suggestionsand recommendations, based on the study, as to how to communicate effectively andmeaningfully on the field during a limited overs game of Cricket.Communication between Captain and BowlerThe bowler needs to strategize with his captain from time to time. There is always a balance tobe maintained by the captain while communicating to the bowlers. If the captain visits thebowler too often, the bowler might feel that the captain does not show confidence in him andit affects his performance later on. However, if the captain does not visit the bowler at all, itwould not be good for the team as the bowler can get demotivated and perform below par.There are different scenarios to be taken care of as well. The captain is supposed to behavedifferently to an experienced bowler and an amateur. Experienced bowlers would take moretime and freedom before they look towards the captain or the team players to help them.Comparatively, a bowler who is new in the international arena would not be very confidentabout himself as he would not have played against different oppositions on different tracks. So,he might require more support from both the captain and the senior players. It will help him tocalm down his nerves and settle down nicely in the team.The captain’s communication roles change in pressure situations. In such scenarios, sometimes,even big names in Cricket are not able to live up to their expectations. In cases like that, theteam which is able to hold on to their nerves wins the game and for that, a captain who is ableto lift the spirits of the team players is required. Higher levels of communication are needed ascompared to other situations. 35
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in CricketCommunication between Captain and FieldersAs has been widely discussed earlier, the Captain has varied communication roles on the field.Another avatar of this is when the captain has to communicate, both verbally and non-verbally,to his fielders. In the electrifying atmosphere of a stadium, it is very difficult for the captain toverbally communicate and shout out to his team, directing them to different positions. Hence,it is only logical for him to use non-verbal communication techniques like hand gestures tomaneuver his forces. For this technique to be effective, it is imperative for the fielders to keepan eye on the captain so that they do not miss out on his instructions. Also, the captain plays acrucial part in motivating his players from time to time. He should go and speak to his playersand try and re-instigate the vigour in them when they are low on confidence. When a playerdisplays some outstanding skills on the field, the captain should appreciate his efforts. This canbe done by either verbally communicating to his players between balls or overs. Sometimes,even hand gestures of applause or a thumbs-up are more than sufficient to boost the players’morale. A captain who is open and vocal with his teammates would obviously receive theteam’s support during tough times. Hence, it is imperative that the captain establishes a goodrapport and chemistry with all his team members.Role of the Wicket-keeperIt is not just the captain or the senior players who are involved in motivation andcommunication among players. The wicket-keeper enjoys the luxury of being the central player,right behind the stumps, and hence, he enjoys the best position on the ground. He is the onewho communicates regularly with the captain and the bowler. It is very necessary for thewicket-keeper to remain pro-active at all times during an innings. He should appeal vociferouslyfor an LBW or a caught-behind or even a run-out if he feels that there are high chances of thedecision going in the fielding team’s favour. He should assist the captain in the field placing andhe can provide his views as well to the captain and the players. The wicket-keeper is the onewho can gauge the way the wicket is behaving and he can identify the right areas to bowl at.Thus, he can and should suggest to the bowler the right lines and lengths to bowl to both left-handers and right-handers. He also gets an idea about the strategy being adopted by thebatsmen and he can suggest new ideas to the captain and the bowler. Thus, it is very apparentthat the wicket-keeper has one of the most significant roles to play when it comes tocommunicating on the field, and if he does not apply himself on the field, there is every chancefor communication to breakdown completely on the Cricket field. 36
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in CricketCommunication between BatsmenNowadays, sledging has quite a big role to play in competitive cricket. Gone are the days, whenCricket was considered a gentleman’s game. A lot of psychological pressure is put on thebatsmen at the crease by nearby fielders. The batsman is required to handle a lot of pressure.He has to perform consistently to remain in the team, to help the team win matches, to handlethe crowd, to prove himself in front of the captain, to make use of scoring opportunities, etc.The only player who is there to communicate with while batting is the player at the non-striker’s end. So, the conversation between the two players becomes absolutely necessary forthe performance of the team.Players are required to talk about their strategies against different bowlers. They tend to telleach other about the rate at which they should go according to the match situation. The role ofsenior player on the pitch becomes more important as he is supposed to look out for the otherbatsman and help him feel comfortable against the opposition. Under extreme pressure, thebatsmen should talk about off-the-field matters as this seemingly mindless banter would helpthem to divert their attention outside Cricket and it helps to ease off their tension. Sometimes,during the drinks break, captain also sends a message to the batsmen at crease which, most ofthe times, is a strategy the players are supposed to follow. All these small instances ofcommunication are very important for the batsmen to keep their cool and go on to build bigpartnerships.Communication between FieldersCommunication between fielders, though limited in occurrence can be match turners in theirown right. How many times have we seen fielders converging to take a catch and then two ofthem collide and a simple catch goes a begging? How many times have we seen free funs giftedto the batting side due to overthrows as there was no fielder backing up behind the stumps?These are all avoidable situations and the only way to avoid them is by fielders developingsome mode of effective communication between them. When players are converging to take acatch, the fielder closest to where the ball is going to drop should clearly and loudly shout‘Mine’ or “I’ll get it” so that the other fielders know that there is someone in a better positionto take that particular catch. This is just to avoid dropping sitters due to miscommunication.Also, the team should decide before-hand that there should always be a fielder backing upwhen a fielder is aiming at the stumps in a run-out attempt. This is to avoid giving awayunnecessary runs as overthrows. Also, when a shot is hit towards the boundary, and fielders are 37
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricketto give chase right till the rope, it is always better if two players run after the ball so that onecan dive and collect the ball, pass it to the other fielder and the other fielder throws back theball. In such a scenario, a quick glance between the two players has to be the cue that thosetwo players are to run after the ball. Time cannot be wasted in any other mode ofcommunication. Thus, in these situations which require quick reflexes, different modes of non-verbal communication are what are necessary.SledgingThere is debate in the cricketing world as to whether this constitutes poor sportsmanship orgood-humoured banter. Sledging is often mistaken for abuse, and whilst comments aimed assledges do sometimes cross the line into personal abuse, this is not usually the case. Sledging isusually simply an often humorous, sometimes insulting attempt at distraction. Sledging shouldbe kept at such a level so that it does not go against the spirit of the game. The main reason forsledging is perceived to be to weaken the opposition’s concentration and develop a grip on thegame. If sledging improves the competitive spirit and leads to better performance, it could be auseful tool.MotivationBuilding team spirit is a continuous process. According to the interviewees, there is no oneparticular way of building and maintaining the morale of the players. It is the responsibility ofeach player to keep himself and his teammates motivated at all times. However, if a player islow on confidence, the captain and other senior players should try and boost his confidence inany suitable way. 38
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in CricketReferences 1) http://www.pitchvision.com/how-to-communicate-cricket-tactics-without-a-time-out, accessed on 17-11-2012 2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_(cricket), accessed on 17-11-2012 3) http://www.pitchvision.com/how-to-avoid-going-quiet-in-the-field/, accessed on 17-11- 2012 4) http://www.pitchvision.com/cricket-captaincy-in-the-field-psychology, accessed on 17- 11-2012 5) http://www.athleteassessments.com/sports_motivation.html, accessed on 17-11-2012 6) http://cricketsecrets.com/2010/11/effective-wicket-keeping-tips/, accessed on 17-11- 2012 7) http://www.itsmyascent.com/web/ascent-matcher/hr-zone/- /asset_publisher/W4zC/content/winning-a-team-effort/10164, accessed on 17-11-2012 8) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huddle, accessed on 17-11-2012 9) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sledging_(cricket), accessed on 17-11-2012 10) http://cricketuniverse.blogspot.in/2010/12/all-about-sledging-what-is-sledging-its.html, accessed on 17-11-2012 11) http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/cricket/kevin-pietersen-booed-off-kp-1270473, accessed on 17-11-2012 12) http://www.iplliveblog.in/2012/04/strategic-time-out-in-ipl-importance.html, accessed on 17-11-2012 13) http://www.espncricinfo.com/ipl2010/content/story/450810.html, accessed on 17-11- 2012 14) http://www.livestrong.com/article/337211-sports-nonverbal-communication/, accessed on 18-11-2012 15) http://www.livestrong.com/article/146557-effective-communication-for-teams/, accessed on 18-11-2012 16) http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/what-communication-means-for-a- coach, accessed on 18-11-2012 17) http://www.pitchvision.com/how-great-captains-deal-with-bowlers, accessed on 18-11- 2012 18) http://www.2playcricket.com/keeping/keepersrole.html, accessed on 18-11-2012 19) http://journals.humankinetics.com/jcsp-back-issues/jcsp-volume-5-issue-3-september- /sledging-in-cricket-elite-english-batsmens-experiences-of-verbal-gamesship, accessed on 10-12-2012 39
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricket20) http://www.supersport.com/cricket/blogs/kepler-wessels/The_sledging_factor, accessed on 10-12-201221) http://www.chillibreeze.com/articles_various/communication-in-games-1211.asp, accessed on 10-12-201222) Domagoj Lausic (2009), Communicating Effectively: Exploring Verbal and Nonverbal Behaviors and How They Affect Team Coordination, Florida State University 40
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in CricketAppendix A – Questionnaire, as part ofthe Student Survey1) What is the most effective way for a captain to make field changes? a) Shout to the concerned fielder b) Expect the fielder to be looking at him c) Go to each fielder individually d) Make hand gestures to make the fielder understand2) When a fielder makes a fielding mistake what is the general reaction from the team players? a) Anguish b) Shouting c) Forget and concentrate on the next ball d) Comfort and motivate the fielder3) How often should the captain consult the bowler? a) After every ball b) Whenever the strike changes c) If a four/six is hit d) Let the bowler make his own changes4) What are the harmful effects if a captain keeps on talking to a bowler? a) The bowler may think ‘here he goes again’ b) A senior bowler does not like it c) A bowler may take it on his ego d) It may lower the confidence of the bowler and make him nervous5) What are batsmen most likely to discuss between themselves? a) Match situation and further strategies b) Bowler’s strategy c) Other batsman’s deficiencies d) Identify slow fielders/opportunities in the field settings to score 41
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricket6) What is the most important communicative role of the wicketkeeper? a) Informing the bowler/fielders of batsman technique b) Gauge how the pitch is behaving and ask bowler to make required changes c) Vocal when appealing and sledging the batsman d) Motivate team members7) What is the most important role of the captain? a) Build team spirit/motivate the players b) Tell each player his role c) Motivate a player if he makes a mistake d) Keep the bowler in the loop8) What is the best way to build team spirit? a) The team should be clear of the goals b) Team huddles c) Support teammates in bad times d) Know each other well9) Why is sledging done? a) To weaken the opposition’s concentration b) To show them that we are better c) To get under the oppositions skin d) Lay seeds of doubts in the oppositions mind10) What is the most relevant effect of sledging? a) It weakens concentration of the opposition b) Brings competitiveness to the game c) Leads to ugly altercations d) Motivates the opposition to perform better11) What is the most important role of the crowd? a) Booing the opposite team b) Appealing with the team to the umpire c) Motivate the team by applauding every small achievement d) When team is in difficulty support them 42
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in Cricket12) What does the coach convey most often from the dressing room? a) Match situation and further plans made by team b) Opposition’s strategy c) Batsman’s deficiencies when team is fielding d) Identify slow fielders/opportunities in the field settings to score13) What is the most important purpose of the strategic time out in IPL? a) Regroup if the team is not doing well b) Discuss future plans c) Change a strategy according to the match situation d) Only a money making plan of BCCI 43
    • A Report on On-Field Communication in CricketAppendix B – Interview Questions1) What is the most effective way for a captain to make field changes?2) When a fielder makes a fielding mistake what is the general reaction from the team players?3) How often should the captain consult the bowler?4) What are the harmful effects if a captain keeps on talking to a bowler?5) What are batsmen most likely to discuss between themselves?6) What is the most important communicative role of the wicketkeeper?7) What is the most important role of the captain?8) What is the best way to build team spirit?9) Why is sledging done?10) What is the most relevant effect of sledging?11) What is the most important role of the crowd?12) What does the coach convey most often from the dressing room?13) What is the most important purpose of the strategic time out in the IPL? 44