An iconic scene in the 1975 Yash Chopra blockbuster Deewar has two brothers Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan) and Ravi (Shashi Kapoor) come face to face in a conversation on values. While it is Shashi Kapoor who has the last laugh as he utters Mere Paas Maa Hai, it is Amitabh who has the grander screen presence.

In his career, Shashi Kapoor often played second fiddle to Amitabh as the superstar ruled the masses’ heart like no one else did. But by doing so, he did no harm to himself. He in fact made Bachchan look better. He never competed for Bachchan’s space, but Amitabh built his edifice with the support of the senior actor who was happy to lend his shoulders to the hero.

It is no different when Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara are at the crease. It is evident who the star is and who the side cast is. In tough away series like South Africa and England, while Kohli scored phenomenally, Pujara promised a lot, but fell short of expectations. Pujara even got dropped as India groped with its familiar batting woes in overseas conditions.

But Pujara has finally emerged as the Shashi Kapoor of Indian cricket where by scoring heavily Down Under, he has made Virat Kohli look better. When Virat scored phenomenally, the team kept losing. He was often the man standing between his opponents and the inevitable. Down Under, he came worse than the second best in terms of runs made, but has never been happier.

Pujara, the test specialist, is now being seen as the batting successor to Rahul Dravid – the new Wall. Through sheer persistence and tenacity, he blunted the Australians and played a stellar role in carrying the weight of the team in both the innings at Adelaide. Such crowning glories are normally expected from superstars like Sachin and Kohli.

The Pujara Model Of Success is not based upon being the best. It is based upon playing second fiddle to the best and making your mark, not by competing, but by blunting. While Virat’s marquee cover drive races to the fence, Pujara’s touches the rope a bit hesitantly. In the past, he often got out after consuming a lot of deliveries but without having enough runs against his name.

But in the recently concluded tests Down Under, where India won a series after seventy one long years, he occupied the crease like a monk in deep meditation in a cave. He was oblivious of anything but the red cherry coming at him. His focus ensured that he not only scored runs, but also tired the opposition attack so much that other lesser batsmen could plunder away.

The Pujara Model Of Success is based upon the most loathed human emotion – Boredom. There is no grace, just an emotionless rock-like defence. There is no craving to score, just the reliance on tenacity – hit only when the bad ball comes along. There is no desire for domination, just the determination to occupy the crease for as long as he can. There is no competition with anyone, just the composure to seem ‘ugly’, but make the team look nice.

At a time when instant gratification fetches instant money and relevance is about being able to adapt to varying formats, Pujara is the hardened traditionalist, who is unaware of what else is happening when engaged in a test match innings. He values his own judgements about his game more than how the world judges him. While Virat, like Sachin, maximises when in the zone, Pujara, like Dravid, always seems to be in a zone of his own.

In a world filled with cacophony of the rat race, Pujara is astonishingly calm even as others around him are engaged in performance and career battles. He baffles bowlers not just with his solid defence, but also with his stoic expression, which is composed both in adversity and prosperity.

Pujara’s greatest strength is his limitation. His inability to play with any great efficacy the shorter formats has made him work as purely a test batsman. As they say, if you cannot be the best overall, be great at the one thing that marks you out. He has converted his limitation into an advantage. He backs himself to do well in one format consistently.

The corporate and business world needs many Pujara, secure in their zone – clear about they can and cannot do. A large part of our stress comes from our inability to match up. But there is a lesson for such people from personalities like Shashi Kapoor, Rahul Dravid and Cheteshwar Pujara. While they themselves stayed in the background, they ensured the prowess of Amitabh, Sachin and Virat bloomed as they held one end up.

Pujara’s genius lies not in competing with Kohli, but in complementing his captain’s genius with his relentlessness. Pujara’s success actually will make other teams even more wary of Virat Kohli’s prowess, as now he can express himself with great confidence, secure in the knowledge that he is not the only `Mr Dependable` in the team.

When Dravid called it quits, he was still under the shadow of the great Tendulkar. But as his absence began to be felt at the batting crease, the value of boredom revealed itself. Like Dravid, it seems Pujara is all set to make his mark not through swashbuckling brilliance, but by constructing his edifice through running four singles in an over rather than aiming for the boundary rope. It is not glory, but a story that Pujara wants to construct.

A corporate professional like Pujara may not push up the stock price of his company phenomenally in a bull run, but like a good mutual fund will ensure the company is still competent enough to compete in the long run.

Every corporate professional’s takeaway from Pujara is understanding the value of fundamentals. It is glamorous to dazzle with stroke play and play to the gallery, but it is courageous to eschew strokes, take a single, and wait patiently at the other end to allow the hero to flourish.

Pujara gives immense hope to the less talented in life. He teaches that tenacity, not talent, is the key to success. He teaches us that be it career or business, an empire can be built by taking singles without being on the fast lane of success.

People like Shashi Kapoor, Rahul Dravid and Pujara teach us that you can be indispensable to your team without being the best. By not being the poster boys, they make themselves invaluable – quietly but surely. They are not insecure about who somebody else is, but are totally secure in who they are.

They attain self actualisation in their profession by not craving for the arc lights, but by putting the team before themselves. They clearly stand out when the team stands out, and therein lies their incredible contribution to management and success.


Article Contributed By: Hariharan Iyer, who lives in Mumbai, is an Inspirational Speaker, Corporate Trainer, Author and Reiki Grandmaster. He is practicing meditation for over 25 years and Reiki for over 21 years. You can get more details of his work from his website www.lifetransformation.in. You can write to him on [email protected]