Sachin’s 241* in Sydney an epic and it’s resemblance to scrum values

Watch: Sachin Tendulkar's discipline at Sydney in 2004 yields a ...
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It’s been 16 years now for Sachin’s 241* in Sydney against Australia in 2004, which is regarded as one of the best test cricket innings of all time in history of the game. Before coming in to bat in Sydney, Sachin had not scored much in the series and was struggling with deliveries outside his off stump. He was not able to drive the ball either on the front-foot or on the back-foot which was one of his major strength and he had scored most of his runs from this particular shot, one of his favourite cricket shots. His form was clearly missing and there was tremendous pressure on the star cricketer of India, one of the champions of the game as on the other side, Sehwag, Dravid and Laxman were scoring heaps of run. More than skills, it was Sachin’s test of mental toughness, resolve, patience and perseverance that Test Cricket demands.

The specialty of this innings was Sachin did not played any single cover drive in his entire innings where he faced 436 balls and stood in ground for 613 minutes around 10.21 hours. I can say, I witnessed, one of the great innings of all time where Sachin shown, how commitment, focus, courage, openness and respect changes the mindset, brings in resolve and patience, sets the path for higher achievements and entices the hunger to deliver best.

In this post am attempting my best to make a resemblance of scrum values ( Courage, Focus, Commitment, Respect and Openness) with this great inning’s of Sachin’s.

Courage: As per, scrum team members have courage to do the right things and work on tough problems. Sachin came in to bat in first innings after dismissal of Rahul Dravid and India’s score was 3-194. As Sachin was not in the form and given India’s score it was a tough situation, if Sachin had not scored runs, India had lost the game. Sachin came in to bat with resilience and courageously accepted the challenge by right short selections and leaving the ball outside off stump and not playing a single cover drive in his entire innings. It was his courage to not play his favourite short to score runs. Courage to acknowledge the situation of the game above his ability to hit the cover drive and not employing the shot which would have made situation for Team India very hard. Courage to accept his weakness outside off stump and working on his weakness by completely removing the shot from his innings. In the same way, scrum teams also work on tough problems, have the Courage to not deliver undone software. Courage in sharing all possible information (transparency) that might help the team and the organization. Courage in admitting that nobody is perfect. Courage to change direction.

Focus: says, Everyone focuses on the work of the sprint and the goals of the scrum team. Australian cricket team works very well on their game plan. They knew that Sachin is struggling outside off-stump where he got out in the last three test matches. The plan was simple, keep bowling outside off and shortly time will come Sachin will lose his focus and would be tempted to play cover drive and would lose his wicket. But to surprise of Australian fast bowlers and spinners, media, commentators and spectators Sachin didn’t play outside his off stump. He was focused to not play cover drive. He was cutting, pulling, driving the ball on the on-side. His focus was in the moment, the present, where he was not thinking of any big score, was just playing ball by ball on it’s merit. Such a focus, scrum teams also shows when they do not worry about future and focus on the current increment. Scrum teams deploy iterative and incremental approach to remain focus in changing complex world.

Commitment: According to, people personally commit to achieving the sprint goals of the scrum team. In scrum guide, commitment has been replaced as a result of sprint planning by forecast, as commitment was wrongly understood and misinterpreted by teams and stakeholders and it was forcing team to deliver undone and potentially not releasable software. In dictionary commitment is “the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause or activity”. When Sachin came in to bat at number 4 in Sydney, it was apparent for Australian bowlers that he will surely drive outside off and they will get his wicket. But to their dismay, Sachin was dedicated to not play any shot in the cover region and left all the balls outside his off stump in his innings of 241. He was dedicated to work upon on his weakness. He was dedicated for team’s cause to score more and more runs from where India could not lose the match. He exactly did that and remained committed in his entire innings to not play cover drive and did not got out. He remained unbeaten. In the same way, scrum teams are committed to quality, scrum values, collaboration, definition of done, working software and improvements.

Respect: says, scrum team members respect each other to be capable, independent people. Sachin shown the respect to pitch conditions, playing environment and the Australian bowlers. He knew their game plan would be to continuously ball outside off stump when he takes the strike. He respected their thought process and avoided all the balls bowled outside off. He made them bowl to middle and leg stump from where he pulled, hooked, and played on drives. Once he started playing on drives, passing through the umpire, you know Sachin is back in business. Sachin accepted the challenge but at the same time he respected all other things which could have resulted him lose his wicket. Scrum teams respect each other’s skills, expertise and insights. They respect people, experience and their background. They show respect by resolving problems and by delivering quality product which is usable by the customers.

Openness: says, the scrum team and its stakeholders agree to be open about all the work and the challenges with performing the work. Sachin accepted that he was not scoring runs through cover drive and it had become one of the major reason for dismissal in the last three test matches. He openly accepted it in the press conference and admitted his mistake. He was open to share his weakness with his brother and discussed with him on resolving it. He was open to accept the advise of his brother, to not to play cover drive. He inspected the reality, getting out on balls outside off stump and sensibly took the decision on his brother’s advise to adapt and not play the cover drive. He was open to acknowledge that his weakness had been caught by Australian bowlers and if he kept playing outside off, he would lose his wicket for sure. Like Sachin, scrum teams are open through empiricism aspect of scrum that requires transparency. Openness in accepting the weaknesses, openness about work, progress, problems and learning. Openness to continuously inspect and adapt. Openness to collaborate across the organization to deliver quality increment. Openness to acknowledge people are human beings and are not machines or mere resources whose productivity and efficiency could be compared to machines.

I hope, I did justice to both scrum values and Sachin’s innings. Whenever I watch his innings on YouTube, It always reminds me of these scrum values. I hope you would have enjoyed reading this blog. Please share your comments in the comment box which will help me to improve as a blogger.



Published by Raveesh Mishra

Transforming organisation's excellence through agile and DevOps practices, Business solutions, IT delivery management, Programme management and Quality Management.

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