How Cricket Has Taught Me To Deal With Failure

One thing that all sportspeople have to learn quickly is the ability to fail, in my opinion. And in no other sport is that more true than in cricket. As the best cricket player ever, Sir Donald Bradman, once said: cricket penalises a mistake in the harshest possible manner amongst all sports. Especially if you are a batsman.

If you make a mistake in other sports you have a chance to come back; but if you make one mistake as a batsman you’re gone.

I was lucky to play cricket at a very high level. The highlight of my career was to represent my home town team, Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL) where I shared the dressing room with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey, Rohit Sharma, etc., for four seasons. I also had an eight-year career with the Mumbai Ranji trophy team, which is the most successful county team in the Indian domestic circuit. I also had the chance to represent India at Under-19 level. Another great memory was playing against an England side touring India in 2008 who played some warm-up games against Mumbai. This was a team that was led by Kevin Pietersen, and included Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, Andrew Flintoff, Steve Harmison and Graeme Swann. A pretty handy bowling line-up!

In 2016 I decided to study for an MBA at London Business School. Following that I worked at Kraft Heinz and have been now at Amazon for two years.

Cricket teaches you to fail, but to a lesser extent it’s the same with any professional sport at the elite level. You need to have literally all your mental and physical faculties functioning at the peak of their powers if you want to have any chance of success, all the time. Even then, the law of averages in cricket mean you’re going to fail more than you succeed.

In sport, it’s just something that you learn to be comfortable dealing with: the fact that you’re going to fail. And you need to be forgiving enough of yourself when you have failed, which will be a lot of times.

Because that’s how you bounce back the next day and try to be successful. I think it works the other way round as well, if you’ve scored a hundred in the previous game then there’s absolutely no guarantee you’re not going get a zero in the next one. You have to be on an even keel about both success and failure.

Besides a certain work ethic and ability to work in teams with varied personalities, I think that the ability to deal with failure is something that holds sportspeople in good stead in a faced paced corporate environment. Frequently, people who work at top corporate businesses like Amazon have only ever faced success. In exams, in previous careers, that’s why they made it to that stage. Where I guess someone like me, who has in some ways failed my way to where I am right now because of my cricketing career, has got a different attitude.

I do believe that the ability to deal with failure is an often under-appreciated quality, and something which is almost ingrained in sportspeople.