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Man versus System – The Indian Context (IPL Saga – Part 2 or 3)


It feels happy to have beat the pack of 40000 people and had an early drink in a stadium doesn’t it. After enjoying this little achievement, this author turned back to his seat in the stadium to watch cricket players going through the practice drill, coaches guiding players, Umpires and referees inspecting the pitch and the ground staff and their machinery clearing the dew off the grass. It was break time for the biggest game of the IPL season.

One such machine used in day-night cricket encounters in the sub-continent is a super sopper. It’s used to absorb all the dew of the grass so that the batting side don’t have an advantage. It was a road roller of sorts meant for the grass. Ironic that these machines were in use in IPL where balls mostly flew out of the park and only occasionally touched the grass. On the particular day of IPL final, two machines came onto the ground to do their duties. Unfortunately one of them broke down during operation. The technicians were called in to fix but to no avail. The break got extended by a few minutes as the huge machine stopped moving and had to be cleared off the field for the play to start. Though it had regular wheels to be rolled off the ground, for some reason the ground staff were reluctant to use it. The solution finally employed being, about 40 people lifted the machine off the ground.

The author wonders, what would happen if this situation were to happen in Australia or England where the planned system would have accounted for such an eventuality. Maybe they had a crane on the ground. Maybe they would have better designed super soppers that could be easily rolled off the ground. Why do, we in India, offer solutions that need people to do it instead of systems and infrastructure.

   The answer, in the author’s mind, is simple. ‘We use the resource that’s available in plenty‘. Could a western country afford to have hundreds of ground staff? Probably not. But we do. So are we a country that has less use of a system? Maybe. Look around you. Every time a road is dug to lay a cable you will find tens of people digging trenches in the age of advanced tunneling machines. At our IT/BPO industries which hire by few hundred thousands. Look at Indian Railways that’s one of the largest employer in the world.  So next time someone tries to retrofit a western solution to an Indian context. Take note that this is a different country where human resources thrive over systems.