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An ode to winners

After a playing career in which he made 132 first-class appearances, scoring nearly 8,000 runs, and featured in 11 Tests and 27 ODIs, WV Raman quickly earned a reputation as a shrewd, intelligent reader of the game. In his columns on cricket and interviews in the media, the former India opener comes across as a forthright, articulate man, never hesitant about expressing an opinion. It comes as no surprise then that Raman, currently the head coach of the Indian women’s team, has authored a book.

In The Winning Sixer, released formally by Anil Kumble here recently, the 54-year-old has drawn on his own experiences, and those of other athletes to derive leadership lessons from sport. Raman has interviewed a diverse set of sportspeople — from Kapil Dev and Jeev Milkha Singh to Sania Mirza and Geet Sethi — an experience he found thoroughly enjoyable.

After a book launch that was part family gathering, part veteran cricketers’ reunion, Raman sat down for a chat with MetroPlus. Excerpts:

What was the motivation behind writing the book?

I always felt that each one of us has a leader within us. The basic idea I want to convey through this book is that everyone can go on to become a leader. Leadership is important at all levels and in all walks of life. During my coaching career, I have seen that there is a tendency to load a lot of things onto children, instead of allowing them to experiment and evolve. Leadership is made up of a lot of attributes and qualities. That is what I have tried to convey, citing many sporting incidents, lives and careers of many sporting people.

How did you select the people you spoke to?

If you look at the people I have spoken to... they are all trendsetters. Look at Kapil Dev, he took up fast bowling when Indian cricketers were not even thinking about it. Take Jeev Milkha Singh, he turned a pro golfer when golf was not known very well in India. Sania Mirza again... in her own right she is a trendsetter. Geet Sethi too, for that matter. These people defied odds, dared them and conquered the world. That is also one aspect of being a leader.

How was the experience of talking to them?

It was great. They were brilliant. They were in different parts of the world. They said, ‘Okay shoot me an e-mail. Is there a deadline?’ I said: ‘Not really’. But they gave me a deadline which suited them and was well within mine. They were fantastic and showed me why they are the champions that they are. They made me realize the adage I had read: ‘Great men make others feel great’.”

How long did it take for you to complete the project?

Conceptualising was easy. After that, for every attribute I had to cite examples and make it interesting for the reader. Overall, it took me about 12 months. The actual writing part did not take that long. The project itself took 12 to 14 months.

You talk about ‘multi-dimensional skills’ being important to leadership...

The motivation is to make the reader aware that we are in an era where we have to be the Jack of all trades and master of one. Earlier, people used to scoff at you if you were a Jack of all trades. But today you need to have multi-dimensional skills. Nowadays, corporates employ people based not just on their core skills but various other things like leadership and soft skills. It is essential. Specialisation is fine up to a point. But if you do not develop multi-dimensional skills, what happens? If the industry that you specialised in goes through a rut, then you are struggling. We are seeing that happen in a lot of cases now. Even sport has become multi-dimensional. Gone are the days when a specialist batsman or bowler played. Things keep evolving.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2021 12:32:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/wv-raman-launched-his-book-which-celebrates-sportsmen-and-their-leadership-qualities/article30614491.ece

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