20 August 2013

The J.P. Duminy Principle of Engagement

It was, relatively speaking, an easy target.  A total of 115 in a T-20 international on a wicket that contained no monsters for batsmen was expected to be easy-peasy for Sri Lanka, given a batting a strong and long line-up that included the likes of Tillekeratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Angelo Matthews and Tissara Perera.  The target could have been easier if J.P. Duminy had not struck a patient 51 off 52 balls showing circumspection necessitated by the early fall of 3 wickets.

Duminy, interviewed after the South African innings, said ‘It is probably not enough, but we have to make it enough’.  Tough task for reasons stated above. 
Now it can be said that Sri Lankan batsman (with the exception of Sangakkara) had an exceptionally bad day at the office.  Poor shot selection, inability to bat intelligently, some good deliveries that were not treated with the respect deserved and so on may have contributed to the downfall, and in the end South Africa won by 12 runs.  What cannot be counted out is Duminy’s resolve which of course may or may not have been a ‘team thing’: ‘’We have to make it enough’. 

Not all factors were controlled by the South Africans, of course, but if it is about giving it one’s best shot then they did take care of business.  The point is that we seldom operate in ideal conditions, in cricket or in life.  We never have perfect working conditions.  Institutions seldom have a full complement of skilled, hard-working team players.  There are always intangibles.  There are breakdowns that cannot be predicted.  And there are ‘bad days at the office’, a syndrome that can strike anyone on any given day. 
‘Not enough’ (of this or that) is a phrase that can be used any day, any hour, or any minute.  It is ‘valid’ in any working environment, it is valid in any household, it is valid for collectives too such as villages, districts, armies, sports teams or countries. 

‘We have to make it enough’ is not something we hear very often.  ‘We have to make it enough’ is not something that can be scripted into rule book.  And yet, it can be written in indelible ink in our minds, except that no one can do the writing but the particular individual. 
It is a bit like saying ‘light a candle instead of cursing the darkness’.  It’s more, though.  If one were to be clinical about it, then terms such as ‘optimization’ could be used.  Something like ‘maximize productivity’.  But it’s more than a profit-oriented exercise, more than good economics, smart business or astute management. It is about having the humility to acknowledge certain poverties, being realistic about the possible, having the courage to take on tasks that are tough and setting about getting the job done with a smile.   

If this world has progressed in any way, it is because there were people who didn’t let seemingly insurmountable obstacles deter them.  They may have not been confident of victory, but that didn’t stop them from trying.  They made the resources at their disposal ‘enough’, however insignificant or inadequate they may have seemed.  They may have lost many battles but the few victories scored would have compensated. 
So now if you take all those who give up at the point they feel that ‘it is probably not enough’ is a valid assessment of things, and you take all the things that were given up on, we would have a mountain of discarded possibilities.  We can imagine what this world would have been like if one tenth of those who didn’t go with ‘we must make it enough’ decided otherwise.  It wouldn’t be a mountain of ‘possibles’ that were realized, but certainly would be much bigger than a molehill, to twist a phrase.

All mountains we face in life are taller than we are.  We can walk around some mountains, but some have to be climbed.  Such mountains could be likened to a massive score to chase in a cricket match or a handful of runs to defend. They could be exams we need to pass even if we are handicapped by sickness or the sorrow of a family tragedy.  Delivering something on time even though key members of the team have abandoned ship is also a mountain which, upon encountering, we can say ‘impossible’ or say ‘we might not have enough but we have to turn what we have into “enough”’. 
J.P. Duminy scored a few runs that day.  Not his best day at the crease.  His runs helped ‘make it enough’ for South Africa.  Most importantly, though, what he said makes us re-think ‘enough’.


sajic said...

Very good. Perception. Like the glass-half full or half empty!

Dileeni said...

A very good, sensible article.