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The Triumph of Strategy: Mumbai Indians' 2019 IPL victory shows how shrewd planning can sharpen competitiveness

The Triumph of Strategy: Mumbai Indians' 2019 IPL victory shows how shrewd planning can sharpen competitiveness

The Triumph of Strategy: Mumbai Indians' 2019 IPL victory shows how shrewd planning can sharpen competitiveness
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By CNBC-TV18 May 14, 2019 1:50:25 PM IST (Updated)

Mumbai Indians' fourth IPL victory on Sunday was not a usual one. Captain Rohit Sharma's side is generally considered slow-starters before gaining pace in the latter half of the tournament, but this season was rather different. They won four of their first six matches without even playing their best cricket.

Mumbai Indians' fourth IPL victory on Sunday was not a usual one. Captain Rohit Sharma's side is generally considered slow-starters before gaining pace in the latter half of the tournament, but this season was rather different. They won four of their first six matches without even playing their best cricket.

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But victory doesn’t happen by accident – not in world-class cricket. It requires the deliberate targeting of one’s areas of greatest strength; the shrewd selection of players; and the continuous upgrading of talent and skills.
Mumbai Indians' victory was instead a triumph of strategy. Sound strategy cultivated a deep and broad pool of stars. And sound strategy forged them into a team with a mission and a plan. Sharma reminds us of the importance of planning and strategizing "to try something different."
"We made a lot of such strategies through the tournament, and they helped us a lot," the 32-year old captain told Mumbai Mirror in an interview published on Tuesday.
But building a strategy doesn't occur in a day. It requires years of planning and study of rival teams.
"It started in 2013 when I became the captain after Ricky Ponting left the captaincy," said Sharma.
"Ricky Ponting was a firm believer in it. He has won two Cups with Australia, and has been one of the most successful captains in the history of cricket. So he told me ‘that is what I used to do and it really worked for me.’ He said ‘try and see if you want to do this, or else whatever you want, we can do that.’ Slowly I started getting involved," Sharma added.
When it comes to planning, one needs to focus on both the strengths and weaknesses of rival teams and how your team fares against the others. "I was sure that you cannot go into the game without planning; you need to know something about the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition, you need to know what happened when you played certain opposition. Some of the things you can pick up while you are planning are quite revealing," Sharma explained.
The mission-to become IPL champion was certainly clear enough and big enough. But it was hardly unique. It motivated all teams, or at the very least the ones with a realistic shot, to plan before the matches.
"The way we plan for other batsmen, the same way others plan against us too ... for me it was also about understanding the game. I have learnt so much in these past six years through planning. It has helped my game immensely," said Sharma.
But captain Sharma's advice to his fellow players was a simple one: to smile. "Whether we lose, whether we win, we have to smile," the prolific opening batsman said.
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