Punit wasn’t sure if he was ready to face his teammates. He kept wondering how this team was thinking of backstabbing him. He walked out of the dressing room and went straight to Mr.Sharma’s room. After 10 minutes he came out of the room and headed back home. His house is 20 kms from the academy, he started brisk walking, but slowly he increased the pace to a well paced jog and never stopped until he reached home.

Punit is feeling very angry. He isn’t sure what is causing his anger. He spent a couple of hours in his room without talking to anyone. Later on he joined his mom and dad at the dinner table.

“After a long time all of us are having dinner together. I wish this could happen more often.”, said Shobana.

“You are right. Sometimes while running the errands of life, we miss the essence of it. Spending time with you both is as important”, replied Vikram.

Vikram: Punit, How is the practice going on?

Punit: It is going okay papa(father).

Vikram: Physical fitness before the tournament is really very important. Hope you are encouraging all the team to be more active on the ground.

Punit: Sharma sir made us do rounds in the morning.

Vikram: That’s good. Have you guys finalized the order of batsmen? Of course, you and Aman must be the opening pair.

Punit: Not yet papa. Only we both are confirmed. We haven’t discussed any details yet.

Vikram: Why not? Today this should have been discussed. Everyone should be well aware of their on field role. It is less than two weeks left for the tournament.

Punit: Okay papa.

Vikram: You are the captain. Have a word with Mr.Sharma tomorrow regarding this.

Punit left the dining hall without uttering a word, went straight to his room and closed the door. Vikram and Shobana looked at each other puzzled. Shobana couldn’t resist from requesting Punit to finish his dinner. She knocked on the door, “Punit, please come and have dinner. What is wrong? What ever it is you can talk to us. Open the door first”

Punit opened the door. His eyes are red, filled with water. “Everyone in the team thinks I am the culprit. What did I do mom? Maybe, I know what I did wrong. I requested you to make papa influence others. This is why they are seeing me as villain”, said Punit sobbing. 

Vikram was quick to respond, “Punit, Punit.. Stop crying. I have not talked or tried to influence anyone beta(son). Yes, definitely you asked me to, but I did not. Trust me”

“True papa, but you did not stop the team from voting for me either. I spoke to Sharma sir today. I got to know that I am not even an option for captaincy. The only reason I could have ended up being captain because people voted for me. Until I overheard the conversation in the dressing room, I thought I was chosen as I was capable. Papa, I wanted to be the captain, but not when others don’t have trust in me. My thoughts were clouded by my ego when I asked you to influence. I at least thought I would be the second recommendation to Aman. Papa, this is hurting me more than I thought it would. How can I be leading the team, when they themselves don’t believe in my ability. They were conspiring on loosing so that my inability to be the team gets evident to the board”, Punit spit out what’s bothering him. 

Vikram was awfully silent. All the while he has been thinking of how he should correct Punit. The problem is not Punit alone. He himself had so many mistakes, he should have stopped Punit from being the captain. He never thought, that could hurt Punit even more if he had to face the revolt. 

Meanwhile Aman was in deep thought on how the team got influenced by just one person’s idea. This also means many are not okay with Punit being the captain. The team is mentally fragile and the probability to loose focus is higher. This cannot be healthy at all. May be it is better to bring this to the notice of Sharma Sir, but what if the whole team then becomes against me? 

Maybe, one more good option could be to talk with the team again. I  don’t have a problem with Punit being captain, but if the team is not comfortable with it, they should be given a fair chance to express that. On behalf of the team, I can then talk with Sharma sir. This seems better. Consensus of every one in the team is very important. Tomorrow first thing in the morning, I will talk with the team.

The next day …. 

Everyone was in the dressing room getting ready for the practice session. Punit entered the room which resulted in a slight murmur from others. “Team, I would like to apologize for my behavior in the previous months. I was not in the best of my time, and also feel the need to mold myself to best suit our team”, said Punit. There was a knock on the door, and the entire room was surprised with who was standing at the door.