Most recent blog posts by my classmates at IMD have been about new beginnings of varying kinds (and rightly so). However, once our time at IMD comes to an end in December, one of the things that I will look back at with great fondness involves a definitive conclusion to something that I have done for as long as I can remember – play competitive cricket!
In May, IMD, along with other European business schools, participated in the annual MBAT Tournament at HEC Paris. While the list of disciplines to compete in was long, my choices inevitably came down to cricket and trivia. Unless you have actively pursued a physical activity for a considerable amount of time, your mind and body usually do not agree about competing in too many physical disciplines over an intense three-day event. I have found this especially true once I hit 30.
Fortunately, we had a couple of things going for us – a large presence of classmates who had grown up playing cricket, and more importantly a team captain who had played the sport regularly for the best part of a decade.
On a personal level, things did not get off to the best start. My two events had a scheduling clash which meant I had to forfeit my position in the trivia prelims. To compound my misery further, the first cricket match ended in victory for our team, but I limped off the field (quite literally) after pulling a thigh muscle. Barely able to move, I had to rely on assistance to even walk. After sitting out the next game, and thanks to help from some of the best people in class (shout out to Aishwarya Saxena and Yiran Liu), I was eventually ready to bowl in the final.
Lining up against Saïd Business School, Oxford (an opposition with a storied history at MBAT and an extremely vocal set of supporters) was not going to be a pleasant experience. As fate would have it, the match had to be decided in the final over. Overlooking my injury struggles throughout the game, Harsh Sharma (the aforementioned team captain) chose to show faith in me and backed me to bowl a good final over to close out the game. What followed was something written in the stars – in the month-long preparation we had done prior to MBAT, I had never come close to bowling as well as I did, and with the rub of the green going our way, we found ourselves bringing home the gold.
For most of us, IMD has been a series of extraordinary firsts in life. New beginnings have a positive ring to them that endings usually lack. From my earliest recollections, cricket has always been a source of unadulterated joy. As I sat in my hotel room that afternoon with memories of me being carried by my classmates in celebration, and with a second pulled thigh muscle in as many days, I realized that endings rarely have such a compelling mix of elation and prognostication.
“Alvida” (goodbye) cricket, and thank you to my classmates at IMD for the best-ever closure to one of the favorite chapters in my life.