“Through his book, The Winning Sixer, W V Raman, the current head coach of Indian women’s cricket team, has used his experiences as player and coach, as well as his interactions with eminent personalities in the world of sport to quite methodically explain the various attributes that a great leader must possess.
What makes it an interesting read is the casual manner of conversation that the former cricketer adopts to put across his thoughts and messages. Throughout the book, Raman is in conversation with a close friend and journalist, Ramesh Kannan, who picks on the former’s brain on his views and experiences on leadership, as he is about to undertake a leadership position in the business world.
Raman comes to the aid of his friend, in the process showing that the ideals and core of leadership remain the same, and his experiences in sport can very well be applied to other fields of work as well.
What does a leader do when put on the spot? As Raman has quite clearly portrayed in the book, every leader has his/her own way of dealing with a situation and there is no sure-shot recipe for success as a leader. Having said that, there are always a few ingredients that every leader must possess to lead himself and his team to glory.
The author uses the vast knowledge he has on the subject, and breaks it down in a carefully articulated manner, giving the book a flow that is easy. Using concepts such as ‘Five Cs of Leadership’, ‘Five Ts of Communication’, ‘Five As of Team Building’, ‘Five Is of Decision Making’, and further breaking them down to explain their relevance, Raman makes it easy to absorb and easily recall these concepts when required.
Backing them up with real-life examples of great leaders in cricket such as Clive Lloyd, Allan Border, Kapil Dev, MS Dhoni, Imran Khan, Steve Waugh and many more, makes it a treat for the reader. One of the most important aspects of leadership, as explained by Raman, is inspiring yourself and your team to perform at your best, particularly when the odds are stacked against you.
He puts his point across by giving the example of what one of India’s most successful captains in cricket, MS Dhoni did with his IPL side Chennai Super Kings in 2018. Having returned from a two-year ban and going into the tournament with a relatively ‘not so young’ squad, no one gave CSK and Dhoni a chance to excel that season. But Dhoni, understanding what they were up against, publicly made a statement, prior to the tournament, that age was not a factor at all and that the team management and leadership group were spot on with their decision of picking smart cricketers who knew how to win matches. By doing so, he conveyed to his teammates the confidence he had in them that spurred them on, and the end result was CSK winning the title that year.
Another key aspect of leadership that separates the best leaders from the rest, is to have a vision for your team to build on to, day in and day out, beyond what no one else is able to see. Here, the author uses the example of Clive Lloyd, the great West Indian captain of the ’70s and ’80s to express his idea. Convinced that the key to supremacy was to have a battery of fast bowlers, Lloyd challenged the notion back then of the Caribbeans that spinners were the key to success and scouted and identified a few bowlers, who, he was convinced, could rattle any opposition.
What followed was sheer domination from the West Indies fast bowlers that carried on through the decade, making them one of the most feared and successful sides in world cricket.
While most of his insights are from his experiences in cricket, Raman has, to his credit, also used anecdotes and learnings from other sportspersons of the country, like Sania Mirza, Pullela Gopichand, Abhinav Bindra, Jeev Milkha Singh amongst others. This also provides a different take on leadership qualities and a lot more on what great sportspersons do to scale new heights.
The Winning Sixer covers aspects of leadership that are applicable in any scenario and gives the reader an opportunity to learn from some of the best leaders in sport, making it an interesting and valuable read for those in all walks of life.”