Group Dynamics In Sports: Research On Pakistani Cricket Team

To accomplish a particular task and goal several people come together and form a group. Group dynamics refers to attitudes and behavioral characteristics of group members. In any sports, group cohesion is very important because the purpose of any sport group is to perform well in the match. Good performance can only be achieved through high group cohesion. Cohesiveness of sports group refers to strength, bonds and unity of group members. Leadership is another major factor in the group dynamics of sports. If leadership is not good in team than it affect the team performance. Captain and coach are considered leaders of a team. The role of coach is building team which has talent and capability to perform well in particular sport. To gain the leadership of a group every group member perform well.

Group dynamics in Pakistani cricket team

Players of Pakistani cricket team shares good communication and healthy relationship among the team. Due to which their performance in the cricket matches are good but not excellent because they rely on other members.

Motivational & Emotional Perspective

Every group to properly work needs a leader. Leaders can either emerge because they are respected and supported by the group. Or can be selected by higher authorities when such end arises. A leader ensures that the group stays on task and is the one who designates roles to individual members of the group. A good leader which enables the group to work effectively will get a high level of performance from their group as they will all be highly motivated to perform. Therefore Motivational and emotional theory can be applied here as in response to a need an action is done. An example would be Imran Khan who became captain of the Pakistan Cricket team due to his good performances and great leadership skills. This is seen in how he was able to lead Pakistan to winning the Cricket World Cup in 1992.

Another such in Pakistan cricket team a team captain with best skills is selected by PCB who can not only manage the team well on the field but also train them how to act in social and media situations, Shahid Afridi is a great example for this as all the team members have great respect for him and not only the people outside the group but also inside have supported him vigorously at many occasions. And group tone effect can be seen at many occasions being displayed by the team throughout. Under these great captaincies the group was effected positively by helping out other members and protecting them.

System Theory Perspective

Each Individual is a single system in their self but they interact with each other and contribute in the group as a whole. Teamwork affects level of performance because a team that works well together will have a better understanding of one another and will. As we have established by now that group are interdependent. This interdependence creates a very cohesive and united environment in the group. They function more effectively as a unit. And the team is capable of making decisions on their own. The team works together to achieve the same goal and objective. Our Pakistan cricket team consist of task cohesion and social cohesion. Not only do they enjoy each other’s company and love to hang out with each other but they also are show a united front and they work exceptionally well as a team to achieve their common goal. They respect each other very much and even they do have conflict they solve it or keep it separate from their game which is very professional as a team. They as a team are quite unpredictable but whatever choice they make, they stand by it together. For example without fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar or wicket keeper Kamran Akmal or team captain Shahid Afridi or other eight players the team cannot even play a match let alone win it. Each player gives in their input so that they can get output as team.

Behavioral Approach

People actions tend to be effected by their motives and drives. In a group due to interdependence among members so that input of each member affects the output of every other member. Every member will try to negotiate the term to their minimum input and maximize output. For example in some games like one T20 or one day match some field players tend get a bit lazy when they believe that their bowler or batsman is the best and will win their team all the points they need instead of the making a proper effort for it. This is why Pakistan has produced talented bowlers and batsmen but never really developed great talent in fielding. That’s because batting and bowling allows cricketers to make a name for themselves in the team. But could not help them succeed as a team. Fielding only helps the team win more consistently.

Factors affecting group dynamics in cricket

There are several factors that can affect group dynamics in cricket. These include

  1. Competition
  2. Loyalty
  3. Personal efforts
  4. Bad attitude
  5. Practice.

Competition: Competition is typically healthy among sportsman and may create a healthy work environment. However, too much competition may create different association among people in the team and lead to a toxic environment. Competition occurs naturally in teams because people typically try to "enhance the status of the group to which they belong. " However, this should never become so extreme that the individuals in the groups feel disconnected and that they are not working toward the same goal. At this point, coach/captain can interrupt the competition by rearranging the groups and switching a few people from one group to another. They can also come up with ways that requires everyone to work together to promote inter-group cooperation. This will help them to remove biases among themselves.

Loyalty: Loyalty to one specific group is extremely important. This makes them loyal to their team so that that they will ignore any wrongdoing for fear of disapproval or being removed from the team. This will also help people to get involved when making decisions. This way, players won't feel like they have to obey or risk disapproval from others. Loyalty to the team and towards members will portray a positive image on them.

Personal Efforts: Personal efforts of team members also contribute to overall group dynamics. When there is lack of personal efforts the whole group suffers. It happens because any one member or individual might think that his/her efforts are not much recognized or that are not important enough to cause any change. Even in some cases personal efforts are not recognized and praised by the head which will eventually decrease this behavior.

Bad Attitude: In any group or team, people’s mood largely affects decision making, problem solving, attention/focus, performance, productivity, and the whole team work. Team leader’s needs to be extra cautious regarding their emotions and attitude because their actions can affect overall team’s performance.

Practice: Team practice is another factor that can affect group dynamics and group performance. Practicing and performing as a team will enhance the chance of winning in final. With team practice sense of unity also arises and goals of the teams becomes clearer.

Applied example on Pakistani cricket team

In Pakistani cricket team we have often seen how there is competition at such extent that eventually whole team suffers. A healthy competition is much accepted but in this team too much competition often causes disturbance. Like recently Umar Akmal, when he was not selected in One Day International match he personally targeted other team mates upon why they got selected over him even when they lack in so many ways as compared to him. He claimed that he is more competent and capable enough to make their team win. Such extreme competition often leads to changing squad which actually is seen a lot in Pakistani team where during every match there is shuffling seen to lessen the disturbances.

Factor of loyalty is also seen in this team. Sometimes they are much loyal towards team and self that they actually stood again match fixing and announced it over media who offered and all but sometimes some players did breach loyalty over their ethics and did match fixing like Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt who when caught were fined heavily and had to face penalty by going to jail. So this is how much loyalty and disloyalty can cost. Personal efforts and practice also affects your teamwork and performance. In Pakistani cricket team on number of occasion lack of efforts and practice has been seen. Even recently in Asia Cup 2018 very weak performance has been seen which lead them to loose several matches and overall series.

And lastly bad attitude is one factor that arises and then vanishes somehow but it does affect the whole team. Like many a times when losing a match and upon returning to home country they were greeted with memes and curse words and lot of rejection. Upon this their own self attitude was bad because they were unable to accept their faults and so reacted harshly. Influence of culture on sports Culture is basically a historically created system of meaning and significance or, what comes to the same thing, a system of beliefs and practices in terms of which a group of human beings understand, regulate, and structure their individual and collective lives.

Culture has a great impact on society as well as in shaping and developing institutions. It is influencing individual’s lifestyle, personal identity and their relationship both within and outside their culture. On the other hand Sports are a big part of human life. Culture has a significant influence on sport and the way it is played. It influences the type of people who participate in sports.

Cricket for instance, in south Asia is much more than a game. In India and Pakistan, cricket is like what football is in most Latin American countries. Cricket in this region reflects the socio-political mindset of a country’s polity. This also includes the team reflecting social, political and economic fissures present in a country. For instance, due to cultural differences Pakistani people are expecting their cricket team to win the match from Indian cricket team. They influence them in one way or the other.

Pakistan is considered a collectivistic society. This is manifest in a close long-term commitment to the member `group`, be that a family, extended family. Loyalty in a collectivistic culture is paramount, and over-rides most other societal rules and regulations. The society fosters strong relationships where everyone rakes responsibility for fellow members of their group. In collectivistic culture offence leads to shame and loss of face, employer relationships are perceived in moral terms, hiring and promotion decisions take account of the employee’s in-group, management is the management of groups. Cricketers from the collectivistic culture have a strong interpersonal relationship. It influence in a way that they develop quality relationships in group and work with devotion, their collaborative work have great impact on the productivity.

When we talk about our Pakistani culture our religions Islam has a great impact on cricket team. We as a Muslims have religious faith that is motivating factor for our cricket team. For instance, unlike other cultures, they stay up late and get up early in the morning (disturb their sleep in away and eroding reserves of energy) having faith that Allah will help them in winning that particular match. They fast while playing in Ramadan.

Along with this cricketers being selected from different areas of Pakistan like Sindh, Punjab Baluchistan, NWFP belonging to different cultures, are influencing their team. They interact with each other work altogether as result they influence each other’s behaviors and thoughts.

15 July 2020
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