Opinion: Inaction speaks louder than words

By Anendra Singh -
2 comments
Maybe it was what coach Mike Hesson wasn't saying that is important in communicating with Black Caps. PHOTO/NZME.
Maybe it was what coach Mike Hesson wasn't saying that is important in communicating with Black Caps. PHOTO/NZME.

During my formative years at universities listening to a professor drone on, head down on a lectern with a lifeless projector image behind him on the wall, was the least stimulating experience in tertiary education.

I used to relish the 40-minute tutorials where up to a dozen students could engage in a brainstorming session while the tutor became the voice of reason when talk invariably became cheap.

The passive, one-way communication gave way to capturing a multitude of ideas delivered in a vibrant room with the tag of facial expressions.

Quite often it was their eyes which gave a sense of affirmation that their words were spoken with conviction to back their arguments.

Which got me thinking this week of the curious case of Black Caps coach Mike Hesson and his high-achieving veteran batsman, Ross Taylor.

It's no secret that the art of communication is the dialect of leadership.

As the coach of the New Zealand cricket team it is peculiar that Hesson has had to come out in the media to declare he has a solid rapport with his most experienced, and still putting up runs on the board, batsman.

For the record, the coach communicates with the 32-year-old Central Districts Stags cricketer "every day".

Wow, that's impressive in a national set-up where injuries, domestic duties and family obligations can leave a player outside the sanctuary of the Black Caps culture.

Perhaps the more eye-raising claim from Hesson is that he possesses a "very good working relationship" with Taylor.

If talk is the inferior currency to the denomination of the sound of leather on willow then Taylor, one can vehemently argue, has spoken.

What else is there to be said - although one can split hairs to say the batsman's T20 record isn't as convincing as his limited-overs and test ones.

The truth is the single biggest predicament in any form of communication is the illusion that it has actually taken place.

Perhaps there's a suggestion they converse via osmosis.

From where Taylor finds his mark, between middle and leg, his communication with Hesson on his dumping from Friday's game may as well be non-existent.

If anything, the umpire at the crease has left his stump badly exposed for a golden duck.

"Um, he just said I'm not in the team. He hasn't really said anything else," Taylor reportedly told Radio Sport.

"I asked the question when I got dropped for Bangladesh and he [Hesson] said, 'This is the best team that we feel for this tour against Bangladesh,' and I suppose you've just got to respect the decision that he made.

"For this game [against South Africa] I just heard I wasn't selected and I didn't ask any questions."

Something is definitely lost in translation here because both parties appear to be on different wavelengths.

That Hesson has felt the urge to elaborate on the level of communication he has with Taylor suggests the rapport may be minimal, if not strained - or, more importantly, on a need-to-know basis.

Poor human communication leaves little room to grow no matter how compact the existence in any organisation.

By and large, language has a tendency to become a handy implement for dressing up reality.

In the realm of expression, the imagination can run wild if people don't choose their words carefully.

It's easy to put one's foot in the mouth when those in power delegate that duty to a third party.

When Taylor was deemed surplus to requirements against Bangladesh, national selector Gavin Larsen had put it down to "performance based".

Perhaps the batsman, who may well be aware of it, appreciates the most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said.

Did Taylor not ask questions because he didn't want to hear the truth?

Hesson responded by revealing the latest omission was not so much a case of what the country's record-equalling ODI century maker hadn't done but what others had.

In fact, the coach revealed he related to Taylor's disappointment but on becoming the world's No 1 T20 team the right to play in an exclusive boys' club had become harder.

Colin Munro, Corey Anderson and Tom Bruce's ascendancy in the middle order is undeniable and advisable for a stable future but it is no guarantee to remaining on the top perch in what is, after all, the most fickle format.

To put Hesson's logic in perspective, it pays to emphasise that Bangladesh, whose strength is at best compatible with the champion domestic force of top-tier nations, is hardly a yardstick of one's prowess.

Sure, it is an opportune time to expose those cricketers on the periphery of national honours (enter Glenn Phillips) , for fear they will lose faith in the selection process but also so they can savour the highs and lows of international cricket to gauge their worth.

Is Taylor a victim of ageism?

Hesson has to be careful that his reasoning doesn't smack of hypocrisy.

If a man with 80 tests and 178 ODIs under his belt, averaging 43.42, is seen fit to make way for younger talent then how does Hesson explain persisting with Dean Brownlie in limited overs?

Brownlie's deserving but he isn't the future George Worker is in white-ball formats.

Where does Seth Rance, 29, fit in as the domestic leading wicket-taker with the white ball?

Surely actions (statistics) speak louder than words.

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