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Friday, April 1, 2011

Team India listens to Pangaea adventurer Mike Horn - WC Finals

Not many would be aware of the Battle of Hastings that took place in 1066 where the Normans decisively defeated English army of King Harold II.  Legend that the battle was won because Normans had prepared well before the war and ‘well prepared is half won’.

Do you know the  connection of  the Panerai Luminor watch, which costs around 7 lakhs to the Indian cricket team ?  Officine Panerai, founded by Giovanni Panerai  is one of the leading watch brands highly appreciated for the unique quality of its precision mechanical engineering. Initially the company specialized on manufacturing of precision instruments and watches on commission of the Royal Italian Navy. At present day, Officine Panerai has established a prestigious reputation as one of the most renowned haute horlogerie brands concentrating on the production of highly technical sports watches.

Team India is upbeat after defeating arch rivals Pakistan and all set for the match at Wankhede.  The Team Manager Ranjib Biswal has some problems – in tense movements of the match, when Shahid Afridi pulled Yuvaraj, Nehra not known for his deftness tried throwing himself at the ball and fractured middle finger on his right hand.  It is not his bowling arm and he did bowl in the dying minutes perhaps with great pain. Whether he would be match fit by tomorrow is a moot question.  Gautam Gambhir  went off the field with some pain and his injury is not known.  Injury or not, Munaf is certain to play and whether he can trouble Lankans is always a question !

From time immemorial, good technique is considered necessary to play quality pace or spin bowlers.  Good batsman watch the ball from the moment of delivery – the moment it leaves the bowler’s hands and would try to read the speed, trajectory and more from that.  Remember the batsman has to decide within a split second on playing the delivery or leaving it. He can be deceived by the pace, swing, movement and trajectory.  There are clever spinners who bowl doosra and other well conceived deliveries bamboozling the batters.  The reaction is instantaneous and momentary and not a calculated risk taken after a long discussion.  This is more so when it is facing a fast bowler – a delivery aimed at the skull or at the rib cage.  When batsman tries a hook or a pull, it is merely horizontal swinging of the bat in an arc at right angles aimed at the trajectory of the approaching ball.  And in  conditions favourable – clever bowlers make the ball reverse swinging – when everything becomes unpredictable.  

The clash for the finals is between the two keepers Dhoni and Sangakkara and India needs to plan that one step closer to the World Cup.  Cricket is a game played on the field.  It is the performance on stage – on that split second that matters more than any amount of planning and mental preconditioning.  They keep saying that Viru has virtually no foot movement but when Umar Gul pitched twice on the leg side, with élan he swatted them to boundaries with effortless ease and no movement of feet at all.  That is genius personified.  He might fail miserably when dancing with Ranbhir [as seen in the upar cut ad] but on field, he dictates his own rules.  

When the 1983 World Cup was won, PR Mansingh was the only official – the Manager who took care of the nets, travelling, ticketing, hotel booking and everything else.  Now the Support team is so big as it includes Head Coach, Mental conditioning coach, Fitness trainer, Physiotherapist, Masseur, Performance analyst, Bowling consultant and more.  In the last match, another man was in the dressing room of the Indian team – an adventurer and a person with extraordinary experience in the Arctic circle, circumnavigating the World sans motorized transport.

The team has heard some motivational talkers and spiritual performers earlier – this time it is much different.  It was Mike Horn who gave them the pep talk ahead of the high octane semi final clash.  Not a single word on cricket but on adventure and the challenges of life in general.  Gary Kirsten ensured Paddy Uppington at mental conditioning coach and it is the turn of Paddy to have another South African talking to the team  !!

They say the concept was to keep the minds stress-free.   For us who follow only Cricket closely, Mike Horn (1966 born) is a South African explorer.  He studied Human movement Science [!] at the University of Stellenbosch and   worked in Europe as as a ski instructor, river and canyoning guide.  In 1995, Mike Horn opened the "No Limits" Outdoor Activity Sports Centre in Switzerland. It was during this time that he broke the world record for the highest descent of a waterfall with a hydrospeed, on the Pacuare River in Costa Rica.  After Amazon expedition, he was fascinated by the sport of sailing.  Mike Horn was elected a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy in January 2007 in recognition of his ground-breaking achievements which reflect great triumph of the human spirit against daunting odds.  He has authored books about his expeditions which are best sellers in France.  He is considered a motivational conference speaker and gives both public and private appearances.   

In 1997, Mike Horn launched his first big expedition: the 6 month solo, unmotorized traverse of the South American continent, called the Amazon Expedition. He left on foot from the Pacific Ocean and climbed to the source of the Amazon River high in the Peruvian Andes. From here he descended the 7,000 km of the Amazon River on a hydrospeed, until he reached the Atlantic Ocean.  He successfully completed a 2year 3 month expedition called Arktos circumnavigating the Arctic circle solo, without the aid of any motorized transport or dogs.    He is amongst the first persons to walk to the North Pole in the sunless Arctic winter, walking 10–12  hours a day pulling their sledges laden with 160 kg of equipment in the extreme Arctic temperatures and in 24 hours of complete darkness for the
majority of the expedition.  He has spoken to many European football teams and now to the Indian cricketers..  

Through his travels, Mike says he has realized  the detrimental impacts of human activity on the biosphere, and in an effort to 'give back' he created the Pangaea Expedition. The word Pangaea means “hypothetical super-continent that included all the landmasses of the earth before the Triassic Period”. Pangaea is also the name given to an exploration vessel, built in respect of the environment using the latest ecofriendly, sustainable technologies.

Mike and other explorers require reliable watches and the Panerai Luminor is one of the elite category.  The Panerai dive watch has incorporated a mechanical movement in conjunction with an electronic depth gauge. The 47mm case of the Panerai watch is crafted from titanium, a hypoallergenic material  characterized by
remarkable toughness and lightness. The ratcheted, unidirectional brushed steel rotating bezel is graduated to allow measuring diving times.  The Panerai Luminor 1950 Pangaea Submersible Depth Gauge watch accommodates thePanerai OP XV caliber, a 21-jewel self-winding movement, beating at 28,800 vibrations per hour, with precision guaranteed by a COSC-chronometer certificate. The extremely accurate and reliable mechanism is provided with an Incabloc shock absorber, and offers 42-hour power reserve. The battery-powered electronic module controls the depth gauge.

With the depth gauge function, one can check the maximum depth that has been reached.  The watches with depth gauge function are reported to be of limited edition.

When a team is winning everybody can stake claims to be part of the strategy – whether it is Kirsten’s coaching, Srikkanth & Board’s policy of team selection, Dhoni’s way of handling his team, the performances of Sachin, Sehwag and Yuvaraj or something else – Indians are now in the finals and with an Indian Win – many individual values would go soaring……

Come on India jithao !!!!  Hoping for a great win in the Finals.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar

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