What can Tendulkar learn from London cabbies?
Sachin Tendulkar was close to getting his 50th Test hundred, but debutante bowler Adam McKay came along and spoiled the party.
Sachin has been the most prolific batsman of all time. All those years of training and playing professional cricket has fine tuned his memory, attention and learning mechanisms when he is at the crease. He is the undisputed king of batting, yet he has a knack of getting out by many a debutante bowler. This is odd, don’t you think?
What does this have to do with London cabbies?
Exhaustive training is required to get “The Knowledge” in order to drive a black cab in London. Turns out, this rigorous training and years of driving is also what gives the London cabbie a quick-fire knowledge of some 25,000 streets within six miles of Charing Cross Station.
Sachin has the foremost knowledge of the game. This has allowed him to thrash some of the best bowlers in cricket all over the field, yet he finds himself becoming the prized scalp of many a debutante bowler, more so often now.
His predicament is similar to the London cabbies, who in a recent research, struggled with their ability to learn unfamiliar routes (which were integrated into other familiar areas of London).
Woollett and Maguire speculated that in this case the drivers’ expertise was getting in the way of learning the new routes: ‘When presented with new information to learn that is similar to their existing knowledge, their poorer performance may reflect expert inflexibility and an inability to inhibit access to existing (and now competing) memory representations.’
When Sachin faces that inswinging yorker from Brett Lee, his brain has stored numerous iterations of that particular moment, from the many times he’s batted him. This interaction gets added to all existing knowlege he has about Brett Lee. His attentional, memory and learning mechanisms are fine-tuned to recognize those patterns and whoop these established bowlers.
But when Andy Mckay comes in, Tendulkar is still struggling to incorporate new patterns of a new bowler into his memory. In the process of doing so, he ends up losing his wicket.
Sachin might be God, but his Achilles’ heel is actually the human brain. This is what makes him vulnerable to these debutante bowlers.
Not sure if he can help that, what do you think?