Greatest ODI Finisher of All Time! Bevan or MSD

A-ha! Now you decide whether an Aussie or an Indian -> my friends would say. I had planned to write the article after Dhoni retires. But I can’t bear the waiting any longer. Mirror mirror on the wall. Who is the greatest finisher of them all? Well, all that apart, the only real contestants being called the greatest one-day cricket finishers of all time are Michael Bevan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Nope do not make the mistake of comparing them as cricketers because Dhoni with his versatility will win hands down. Just compare them as ODI finishers. That’s what I am out to do today. I came up with some interesting facts and stats while doing so.Let’s first list some candidates who deserve although not in the same league as these two specialists. Some of them are Lance Kluesner, Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, Mike Hussey, AB De Villiers and VIA Richards arguably the greatest one-day batsman of all time. He and Sachin will say no we do not need a finisher. We can finish the match a long time before the overs are completed with available resources at the other end. But that is another story and another breed of batsmen.By finisher do we mean a batsman who remains not out at the end when an inning is over? Nope. I mean the batsman who finished the match and won it for his team is the greatest finisher. In most cases, such an inning will result in the batsman remaining not out at the end. But there are many an innings in which the batsman had pretty much finished it before getting out. Sachin Tendulkar at Sharjah in 1998 against Australia played two magical century innings, one to propel India into the finals and the second to win the final for India. He got out in both the innings. But it was finishing of the highest order and did the job for his country very effectively indeed. And this is where Bevan and Dhoni come into the picture. They made a real difference when it mattered most to their teams. And they did it many times. This fact alone leaves clear daylight between them and the others.

The best qualities of MS Dhoni is that he is calm about everything when everyone in the stadium and watching the match on TV is about to have a heart attack. This was pretty much the case with Michael Bevan as well. But Bevan had solid batsmen keeping him company during his time such as Waugh brothers, Damien Martyn etc. Dhoni also benefitted from these batsmen at the other end but more towards the end of his career. They were both outstanding runners between wickets. More than that, they were excellent judges of runs. They knew when to convert a single into two and a two into three, and also when to not take the risk. This increased the pressure on the opposition a great deal. Not only the boundaries kept coming but the running between wickets killed the match for the opposition.One area where Dhoni stands out is big hitting. He can hit sixes and Bevan, on the other hand, was not a big hitter. He could hit out if required but not with the same consistency as Dhoni. That to my mind is the real difference between the two. Bevan has won as many matches for his team as Dhoni did but with caresses and pushes rather than the controlled hitting of Dhoni. A finisher needs temperament and they both had it. I am saying “were” though Dhoni is still around. But I believe we have seen his best.Most Indians will point at career strike rate to tilt the balance in Dhoni’s favor but Bevan played in a slightly different era where the batsmen did not score at the same rate as today apart from the Tendulkars, Waughs, and Laras obviously. And the teams also did not amass the same totals as today. So this statistic does not do justice to Bevan. They both have great batting averages in the excess of 50s. They absolutely killed the opposition with exquisite finishing. No matter how they did it, by running around or hitting out, it was clinical.Dhoni finishing is about his ability to do both: big hitting and nudges and pushes and run like a hare. Also, Dhoni played in an era when there was a lot of cricket played and he had to perform multiple roles in T20s, ODIs, Tests and IPL. This alone is backbreaking. While Bevan played ODI cricket basically along with the first-class matches and a little bit of test match cricket. Less stress definitely than compared to the modern cricketers like Dhoni. Maintaining fitness in such cases is very difficult. Dhoni has managed this but Bevan struggled towards the end of his career with a series of fitness problems.Michael Bevan batted at no 4 or 5 when he engineered those great finishes while Dhoni at 5-6. This is mainly because Dhoni would take more risks than Bevan and due to the heavy price tag on his wicket, a tendency to push him down the order must have existed within the team management although this is conjecture. Although Dhoni’s most famous innings the 2011 world cup final had him playing at no 4. It was exhilarating to watch the great cricketer clinically finishing the final with aplomb. And he finished it all with a six. That was like placing an exclamation mark on the match and the world cup!!Most mortal cricketers in this world panic when the difference between the numbers of balls left and runs to get starts to get out of hand but not these two. It was just unbelievable to watch them keeping their calm and going about their job as if it was everyday chores. What these guys are made up of can be seen with finishing no one else can repeat so many times. Many great cricketers have graced the game and a lot of them have played stellar roles in their teams winning. But finishing the matches victoriously for their teams so many times? No. No one! These two just cannot be beaten at that.Bevan was a part of two world cup winning squads in 1999 and 2003. It is noteworthy that Australia was at the top of their game when he was playing ODI cricket and was in his prime. Dhoni won the single ODI WC victory for India in 2011 although he is still playing and I am sure is eyeing the 2019 world cup as his last hurrah.

Bevan has the highest batting average for a retired ODI cricketer of 53.58 while Dhoni averages 51.37 at the moment and will end up around 50. This also doesn’t indicate any clear advantage for Bevan because Dhoni would take more risks and as a result, would have a better strike rate than Bevan who will have the slightly better average. Both of them played and won matches playing with tail-enders and many times. I cannot describe in words how unbelievable it was to watch these men do it over and over again.Another critical point that goes against Dhoni is the pitches he played on. Bevan played on large Australian grounds which make hitting sixes difficult while Dhoni batted at a time when the game was tailor-made for batsmen and on Indian conditions which have always been friendly to batsmen. Though Bevan comes from an all Aussie domination era where the team was on a roll, Dhoni busted the Indian habit of being poor chasers. That is his greatest achievement really for his country. It is no mean achievement, allow me to tell you, as I have seen Indian cricket since the 1980s and this had become a minor crisis back then.VERDICTI have tried hard not to compare them as overall cricketers and talk about Dhoni captaincy or Bevan left-arm spin bowling. These were like bonuses to their teams. I am not going to discuss the Bevan test record either as again that is irrelevant to the topic. You can compare their stats all you want, all day. You will find them counterbalance each other in the end. But despite considering everything I still cannot ignore the huge difference in strike rate. It is 15 points and I think that is the real and telling difference. Need I say more?

Positive Change in the Management Will Change the Organization Positively

Management was considered a skill and art. People said leaders are born. Then people said leaders could be inspired. Now people say that leaders could be trained. It is true that we could be trained and taught to become leaders. Management is a leadership skill. The best leadership ever is the leadership by example. If the example is right then the understanding will be full. If the example is not right then the understanding will not be right.

Companies and organizations have managers and management levels. Smaller companies might have only one level of management and there might be only one individual as a manager. Larger corporations have different levels of management. There might be junior managers who directly deal with base level employees. There might be middle managers who interact between the junior managers and the senior managers. There might be a higher management team which would be at the top of the organizational structure.

If an organization is established to be bigger, the management would have been planned and structured beforehand. Most organizations that are worldwide and famous now, were not planned to be so when they were initiated. If you take any of the gigantic businesses, corporate companies or organizations, most of them were not meant to be grown into worldwide entities. In fact, some of the current successful and worldwide businesses were opened up for fun. We can consider the United Nations Organization as one of the very few organizations which were meant to be worldwide as they were established.

The change becomes necessary when the organization transforms from a small group of people having fun to a larger entity of importance in the society. When Facebook was launched, it consisted of only one manager; the founder himself. Now it has over 10,000 employees with different levels of management. Google was started with two people. Now it has more than 57,000 employees worldwide. This is the transformation that takes place when a company or organization grows.

All companies had to face the issue of transforming from a smaller stage to a bigger stage. Once they transform, the organizations which changed their structure of management accordingly were able to survive. The management of whichever organization was resistant to change had to pay the price of losing the organization. If an analysis is done on the organizations, companies or corporate businesses which were closed or sold, then the management would be held responsible for ending up in such situations.

The most effective mode of management is to lead by example. A military is a controlled system that runs by orders. One of the most important aspects in the military is that the leader who is giving an order also carries out that order. For example if a soldier is required to wear a uniform, then the chief of the battalion is required the same. If a soldier is required to carry out training exercises, the commander is required too. In other words, militaries are successful organizations not because the leaders or managers have much authority but because they lead by example.

As a simple fact, if a manager keeps his table clean all the time, he can ask his subordinates to keep their table clean. There will be no opposition. Since the subordinates know that their manager always keeps his table clean, they will have no excuse or reason to give him. The leader gets his authority through his example behavior and not through shouting at people.

Since management is essentially leadership, it should lead by example. The duty of higher management is to make sure that there are example leaders in the middle management. The middle management consists of the most sensitive links with most critical positions. The middle management of any organization is the bridge between the workforce and the managing force. If the bridge is not right, then the journey wouldn’t be fulfilled.

As organizations transform from small to big, the gap for a middle management arises. The top managers might be able to manage 10 staff but not 100. If the top management decided to manage all staff without middle management, it is like building a suspension bridge without any poles in the middle. It will work for up to a certain length. If the bridge exceeds the optimum length, then the strength would be in question.

It is the same with a growing business. There have to be changes to address the needs of tomorrow. Most organizations fail because they try to address the problems that took place yesterday and they forget to think and make a plan to avoid problems tomorrow. In the long run, this kind of organization will have problems piled up from the past and will be facing problems in the future as well.

The aspects of the management should change in a way that the management should be able to think, anticipate and identify potential problems in the future. They should then be able to get ready to face and solve the problems before the problems hit the organization. If this is not considered by the management, then the day to day problems will keep all the staff occupied in problem solving. While everyone is busy trying to solve the problems, the intended regular tasks will be missed. The missed tasks will seed for new problems in the future. Since the management is not willing to change, the same will take place in a loop.

A few managers don’t consider themselves as examples. The manager might not think that he is not supposed to be an example, but the employee will always look at the manager as an example. If the manager is not punctual, then the employee will either become like the manager or will not like the manager. If people don’t like other people, it is hard to take tasks from them. If you are a manager and your employee doesn’t want to take tasks from you, then you are in trouble.

Every single aspect of the manager is critical to the organization. If there are five different managers in an organization, all of them should be together and be leading by example. The employees who look at the managers should get an impression to become like the managers. In a few organizations the founders or the owners make sure that the staff will like the management. If someone in the management is spoiling the name of the entire management, that person would usually be fired.

Some say that the only job of a manager is to hire staff. I strongly disagree. The only job of a manager is to manage. Managing is a leadership aspect. The best leadership is to lead by example. To be a positive example, the manager has to be positive in all qualities. If the manager is positive in all senses, the employees will like the manager. If the employees like the manager, then they will listen to the manager. If the manager asks them to do something, they will do it. A positively qualified example manager is going to ask only something good for the organization. At the end, a positive change in the management will change the organization positively.