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Modern cricket is no joke. All sorts of questions were raised on India's tour of England. With so much strain, even George Carlin would forgive the modern cricketer for resorting to the odd self-help book or two.
On the 1998 tour of India, poor Shane Warne was kept away from his beloved canned beans, which no doubt led to a deterioration in his performances. For him, we recommend Who Moved My Cheese?
A man so prone to injury you'd wonder why they'd let him run anything more than five paces to deliver a cricket ball, Ashish Nehra should pick up The 4-Hour Body, ideally suiting him for the other format. You know, the one all the ninnies play.
He had to get a lazy board to agree to his rebel tournament. He had to tap people busy posing for Filmfare or Business Today on the shoulder. Then there were all the snooty television companies to convince. Plus, he had a squeaky, lispy voice. Didn't seem to matter. We'd be surprised if Lalit Modi didn't have a copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People on his bookshelf.
Be proactive. Begin with the end in mind. Put right things first. Think win-win. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood. Synergise. Sharpen the Saw. All habits that have helped Shahid Afridi at various points of time, from scoring a century off 37 balls in his first international innings to helping take* Pakistan to a World Twenty20 victory. However, instead of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, we recommend that he be sent a copy of its follow-up, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.
Apparently, all players who were invited to be a part of the IPL auction were given a copy of Deepak Chopra's Creating Affluence: The A-to-Z Steps to a Richer Life by the BCCI. Of course, this was not before Allen Stanford had placed an order for 22 copies of The One-Minute Millionaire.
A set of fans sent the MCC Coaching Manual to Suresh Raina after they found him struggling with the rising ball in England. But wait, that's not a self-help book, you argue. Ah, think again...
Australia weren't having a very happy time in the early '80s. They lost 19 of their first 50 Tests, and 42 of their first 87 ODIs (admittedly, they lost none of their T20 matches, a commendable effort given the circs). And then Allan Border became captain. He turned things around quite nicely - winning a lot more (the World Cup, to boot), before setting the platform for his successors to dominate things. We hear that his effects contain a copy of You Can Win.
Once asked by a kid if he had ever indeed played cricket, Richie Benaud was sent a copy of Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life by a friend tired of him sitting at home after his last Test and muttering constantly, "Now what the bloody hell do I do?" (An early version of the same book was sent to Jack Hobbs as a 40th birthday present).
I tried my best to not do this one, but I couldn't resist. Sachin Tendulkar gets The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.
There was also a brave publisher who wanted to gift Colin Croft a book on anger management but decided not to after the legendary West Indian made it public that he was looking for people to practise against in the nets.
Corrected from original, which said Afridi captained in the World Twenty20 victory
Deepak Gopalakrishnan blogs here
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