April 15, 2014

Famed Arctic explorer speaks to IPL team

Motivational talk to KKR side does not quite go according to plan

"And you make a sign like so for a time out" © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

The following is the transcript of Mike Horn's first pep talk, given to the KKR team days before the start of IPL 7

Hello, my name is Mike Horn and I'm here to talk to you today about my experiences as an adventurer, explorer, spiritual athlete, and out-and-out cricketball enthusiast. If I am able to motivate even one of you today towards adapting my teachings to cricketball scenarios, and at least ten of you towards buying a copy of my book, No Peak Too High, No Depth Too Low: Mike Horn's Guide to Responsible Gallivanting (available today at a special one-time-only KKR price), then I will have done my job.

I'm sorry, what? Oh. Well, I have just been informed by coach Bayliss (a man who certainly knows his stuff) that the name of the game is cricket, and not cricketball. Ha ha, well, of course it is. I couldn't have very well played a vital part in India's 50-over World Series win in 2011 without knowing something as basic as that, could I? No, I was merely testing you lot to see if you were listening, that is all. It's a thing we motivational speakers do all the time.

Anyway, of course I know my cricket. I am as much South African as I am Swiss, you know. Jacques can vouch for that. Right Jacques?

Jacques! Can someone please wake up that man with the fake hair, sleeping with his eyes open in the last row? No, not that guy with the fake hair sleeping with his eyes open, the other one. No, not that one either. No. No. Yes, him. Nice of you to join us, Jacques.

Where was I? Yes, as I was saying, it's an honour to have been invited to India again to speak to cricketers who have no idea why I'm talking to them.

To get down to business, then. It might sound simple to say, but if my wanderings across the globe have taught me anything, it is that the biggest obstacle is not the mountain looming ahead of you, or the ocean stretching out in front of you. It's - yes, Gautam? No, it's not MS Dhoni either, but thanks for your input. No, the biggest obstacle by far is the one that exists in your mind. No, Mr Chawla, I don't mean like in the movie Inception.

Maybe it's best if I illustrate things with an example. My exhaustive background research into the KKR team has revealed to me that we have a so-called Chinaman among us. Would that person stand up please. You? Are you sure? What's your name? Kul-deep Ya-dav. That doesn't even sound Chinese… are you from the ethnic Uighur community, by any chance? Anyway, that doesn't matter now. What matters is how you have managed to get where you are today in the face of blatant discrimination. The rest of you should take a leaf out of this remarkable young man's book.

Kuldeep, could you share with us how you managed to overcome this particular "mountain" in your life? What do you mean you don't know what I'm talking about? The racism, man!

And as if calling you a Chinaman isn't bad enough in this day and age, they have the gall to call you "slow" as well. What do you mean that has to do with "bowling"? What the **** does ninepins have to do with any of this?

Look, perhaps I'd better stick to talking about my own life.

Oh, I have scaled many a great height and plumbed many a dark depth in my time, and - actually, you know what? Instead of just me talking, maybe it'd be a better idea if we opened up the room to questions. Yes, you in the front row with the fake hair and your hand up in the air. What's that you say, it isn't fake? Are you serious? Huh, go figure. Anyway, do you have a question Mr Khan? Well then why are you waving to the room like that? What do you mean you can't help it? And now you're blowing kisses. I suppose you can't help that either.

Please, try to focus. And for the love of god, man, button up that shirt.

Does anyone else have an actual question? Yes, you with the… well, that's not really fake hair is it, it's just… what the **** is that, son? And what's your question? I see. No, all this talk about mountains is not going to help you spin the ball any better in high- altitude conditions in Dharamsala, Mr Narine. Don't be a wise guy.

Look, it seems to me that you guys are missing the point of this talk. I don't know if it's just too early in the morning for you lot or what, but I think we're about done for the day here. It's been… educational, to say the least. I've certainly learned something important today, and that is that one might have scaled many a great height in his lifetime, one might have circumnavigated the Arctic circle, hell, one might even have been the first person to attempt to scale Mount Everest naked without once alighting from the back of a mountain goat, but nothing, and I mean nothing, prepares you for the challenges of talking to a group of IPL cricketers in a closed environment.

R Rajkumar tweets here.
All quotes and "facts" in this piece are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?