At every stage of our life, we need strong value and support systems, guides and parents and mentors, role models to look up to, and a clarity of vision that will allow us to home in on our goals without taking short cuts. When I did finally make it to the Indian team in 1996, I didn’t feel that it was mission complete, dream accomplished. The aspiration to play Test cricket was not just to be known as a Test cricketer, it was to try and contribute to the team’s success. It wasn’t so much about how many runs you made as about when you made them, in what situations you made them. Sometimes a combative 30 is as crucial as a magical 281. But at the end of the day, as a team player you end up with an empty feeling when you have made a hundred but your side is on the losing side. The individual always, always comes after the team, which is why when you learn to enjoy each other’s successes, the joy that permeates through the dressing room can more than compensate for the disappointment that might stem from an individual setback. Once we got into the 2000s, the teams that I was a part of were all determined to push their boundaries overseas, and particularly outside the subcontinent. It wasn’t as if we took victory in India for granted; they also came after a great deal of effort but it was in our backyard, in conditions we were familiar with. vocationWithin the team, the growing urge to become more competitive overseas came with the arrival in our coaching set-up of John Wright , the first overseas coach of our national side. John was laid-back, but he was also very demanding because he believed we had what it took in terms of talent, mental fortitude, temperament and resolve to be a strong force outside our shores too.
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