Moving on from experiencing failure on a given day on the field hasn’t always been easy, with the confidence and spirit of athletes taking a huge hit, especially with feelings of pain, agony and sadness taking centre-stage in the mind and heart.
In IPL 2023, Gujarat Titans left-arm pacer Yash Dayal encountered failure on-field when Rinku Singh hit him for five consecutive sixes in the final over to lead Kolkata Knight Riders to an improbable victory in Ahmedabad.
Visuals of a downcast Dayal on his haunches, with tears in eyes and being consoled by team-mates made for a sharp contrast with Rinku being celebrated by his playing mates. After the game ended, Dayal received tremendous support from the franchise in-person as well as on social media to overcome the heartbreak of not being able to defend 29 runs in the final over.
Now, former India batter Robin Uthappa revealed how the franchise rallied around Dayal to keep him in good spirits shortly after experiencing an on-field heartbreak.
"It is extremely hard to be able to go through that as you kind of go through it alone. Now what actually transpired was, I spent some time with the Gujarat Titans at the team hotel as I was interviewing some of the players there. One of them explained the story of what happened that day."
"I think it is a phenomenal story as to how a team can actually help a player who has had a terrible day. They actually came back to the hotel that day and all of them met at the team room. They brought Yash in and they had a great singing and dancing night. They even made fun of what had happened to him and got him to laugh at himself as to what happened in that experience," said Uthappa, an IPL expert for JioCinema, in a select virtual media interaction.
After that game, Dayal didn’t play a match for a month and six days, with captain Hardik Pandya saying he was down with illness and had lost a lot of weight.
"Subsequently, he fell sick and was not well. But having said that, he had the entire team rallying around him and saying that it’s okay, we also get hit, get out early and there are bad days. That’s one of the things in sports which is viewed as bad all around the world. At the end of the day, it is a job that we all do. It is open for criticism because it is viewed by millions and millions of people.
When we have a bad day at the office, it is witnessed by the whole world and is critical of our performances that day. But that doesn’t take away the effort put in, day in and day out, and stacking up good performances. In life, if you are in the majority of doing well, then you are considered a tremendously great player," added Uthappa, who has spoken about having mental health issues as a youngster in his playing career.
Citing Gujarat’s example of rallying around Dayal to help him overcome the horrors of the match against Kolkata, Uthappa has urged teams to help young players treat success and failure in sports with equanimity.
"A lot of these things have to be understood by young players that if you are winning five out of ten times, you are successful 50 per cent of the time and are considered a success. If you are outside of Don Bradman and someone who’s played more than 100 Tests, I think if the highest success rate is about 50, 55 or 60 percent, a person has succeeded a little bit more than he has failed," said Uthappa.
"Good and great players fail as much as they succeed. These aspects, once understood by these young players, they will be able to deal with their performances in a much-better manner. It’s important for teams to rally around players on their not-so-good days and I was so happy to see Gujarat Titans rally around Yash Dayal," he added.
When Dayal was back in action for Gujarat against Sunrisers Hyderabad on May 15, he looked decent in his rhythm to pick 1/31, with the scalp coming in his very first over of the match. One could feel that Dayal was showing signs of being at his confident best, with the failure of April 9 firmly becoming a thing of the past.
"When he got an opportunity again, you can see how he came back and the fire he bowled with, when GT played against SRH, he picked up wickets early. It goes a long way when the team backs you and rallies around your weak performances rather than leave you high and dry and leave you on your bad performances by yourself," concluded Uthappa.