Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Pom condescends to sympathise with the Australian cricket captain

Four members of the Australian cricket squad have been sent home from their tour of India. The team lost the last test match in embarrassing circumstances and were all asked by the captain Michael Clarke and coach Micky Arthur to come up with a few points explaining what they thought could be improved in time for the next one. Four members failed to come forward with anything, presumably after nudging, and were therefore sent home.

Somebody used the unfortunate word "presentation", which summons visions of Powerpoint, flip charts and Ricky Gervais.This has resulted in jibes about "homework" from sportsmen, who like to see themselves as above this sort of thing, despite the fact that they live in a far more institutionalised world than we adults.

I can see why Clarke and Arthur asked the members of the team to come up with the points. It wouldn't be because they thought they would include any piercing insights they hadn't thought of themselves. They would have asked each of them to come up with some points to make it clear that each of them "owned the problem", as management speak might infelicitously put it. If you don't own the problem you can never own the solution.

It's easy to lampoon the techniques and language of modern management, particularly if it helps get you off the hook. People are doing it in offices all the time. But what underpins the overwhelming bulk of modern management is simple common sense which has been to university. If Clarke and Arthur find themselves in the same situation in the future they should simply bark "because I bloody say so". Then they'll get their way. Mind you, after this week they may not have to.


  1. The four players concerned were not selected for the next test match. One of the players chose to go home as his wife is about to give birth to their first child.

  2. I think that those involved should have submitted two sides of A4 with a hunded lines of 'I must play better cricket' written on them.