Wednesday, January 20, 2010

One-tip Cricket and Management Fundas

This one originated right this evening.
  It was started by my bro GuGu ofcourse, with whom I have the pleasure of sharing many intellectually intense and invigorating debates... and all this while watching a dismal game of cricket. No, I am not refering to the 'ordinary' India-Bangla test match but to a game of cricket commonly known in the balconies, passages and verandahs of India as one-tip, one-hand cricket.
 As to the origin of the name, there have hardly been more to-the-point names in the world, which leave you in no doubt as to the game ( I wish human names were as useful!!!). However, the debate did not rest on the mere nomenclature of the game rather hinging on a more intriguing part of the game. How is it that the rules for 1t1h cricket (1-tip 1-hand cricket..inspired by T20) are more or less the same across the country?
As is often the case, I began my answer in all earnest abstraction and hoped to end my monlogue with the famous "Elementary, my dear Watson" look. However, ever since I have been solicited for services by a name sake of the Jaya Prakash Murugan Chettiar Bank, the time on my hands has enabled me to delve deeper on entirely useless things!!! ( You might wish to argue that it was the case earlier too but let save it for later.)
So I took up the development of 1t1h cricket as a management problem and this is how I guess it must have worked out:
  •  Need Identification: In India everybody wants to play cricket but hey, where is the space!!! So every possible quadrangular (or not so quadrangular space..) is put to good use. Now we Indians are competitive people and no cricket can happen without elaborate scoring systems and even more ritualisitc methods of getting out. Thus, the birth of 1t1h cricket owes itself to the space-strapped cricket maniacs of the country.
  • Early Adopters: Early adopters are the people to whom any product might give reasonable amount of credit for shaping usage patterns and augmenting product features. So while 1t1h started out as a simple variant, the early adopters to the game decided to add rules for hitting on the wall, hitting the tubelight, minimum runs in an over etc etc etc and more... thereby increasing the ability of the game to handle various tricky situations and obstructions.
  • Critical Mass: Many new product innovations have perished because of their ill-timed launches. While market timing is as much an art as a science, the rise of  1t1h cricket has coincided with the emergence of housing complexes, having more parking space than playing space (infact substitutable spaces... these two!!!). More controlling parents, who figure children are safer playing cricket in the balcony of their 8th floor apartment than on the ground and of course, the simple truth that any playground is hideously anti-social compared to filling the coffers of some builder bloke. Add to this the stereotypical picture of a cricket field in India.... 5 parallel pitches and close to 100 fielders packed into a regular size field. While the batsman's concerns are not limited to the opposition fielders alone but expand to include the pitch invading goons from other teams, the poor fielders have the additional worry of protecting their nether regions from a well directed pull shot. Hardly a pleasing sight you would say!!!  Thus, the new baby in the cricketing world couldn't have come at a better time.
  • Standardisation: While many sports in India have secured an elitist status, its just impossible to keep any form of cricket away from the masses. Though in essence this penetration of the product into new market segments should be a good news for most firms, it also brings in the additional burden of standardisation. And I guess, we have no one to thank more than the kids of Defence personnel & other folks in transferable jobs for bringing about this standardisation of procedures/rules/rituals and other gimmicks in the sport of 1t1h cricket. These people have travelled far and wide, carrying with them the best practices in the sport and spreading it across the various parts of the country. Thus, many of the rules in the sport are now universally (read "nationally") accepted.
With this my analysis of the evolution of the sport has been concluded and all I now worry about is the survival of the game. You see there was this game we played as kids, it was called book cricket but with the advent of PDFs, laptops and Kindle the children of today have been deprived of the sheer thrill and adrenaline of playing the great sport of book cricket. I hope 1t1h does not meet such an unceremonious end. Amen!!!
The above gyan is written without any backing of management studies. It is just a intuitive piece of imagination of how things might have worked out at a micro level, at the same time causing a sea change in the cricketing behavior of an entire nation. Believe it at your own risk!!! 

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