“For me aggression is not show of emotion. It never has been. For me aggression is performance... You can show as much emotion as you want on the field but at the end of the day what counts is how you have performed. In India, we get caught up with this thing; even get a little carried away. We often treat emotional show and aggression as the same.
.. there was an incident early on in my career when I got a hundred in Kolkata. I was a bit worked up and I pointed the bat in a frenetic way. And so many people came up to me and said, 'oh yeah, you were really aggressive, fantastic'. I look back at it now nd feel that was not the great thing, not the highlight of my innings. In fact, that was an easy thing to do pumping my fist and raising the bat or jumping up and down. It didn't require any skill. The tougher part was to get the 100. For me that's what counts. That's what I have focussed on all my life… Then, there was another incident when I hit Allan Donald for a six and Donald had this thing with me and people said, 'oh what a great moment'. And I felt that wasn't the thing for me. The challenge was actually before that, when I actually hit the shot. That was the real thrill. The fact that I was able to play it was aggression for me. I guess that's my personality.”.
My respect for the man went up even higher when I read this.
As behavioural psychologists like to pontificate, aggression is not about thumping one’s chest or indulging in sabre-rattling at the slightest opportunity or letting out blood-curdling war cries. Being assertive is all about confidence in one’s own abilities and in going about one’s mission with quiet determination.
I would urge all of you to practise this diligently. Believe in this approach passionately; try to be undemonstrative and control your emotions, But, should this be misconstrued as weakness and people try to ride rough-shod over you, don’t react. Simply catch the person by the collar and choke him with your bare hands. Then pullout his nails, one at a time using the Swiss army knife which you should always carry in your pocket. Then make him lie down and jump on his chest.
Remember, no emotions allowed, as you do all this. You have to live up to the image of being the strong, silent, undemonstrative type.
Update 22/03/08 :
Wasim Jaffer, in this interview responds to criticism that he is not demonstrative enough:
Look at Dravid, Laxman or Kumble - they are all so sober on the field and yet they are such great cricketers. It's your personality, and your cricket that's reflected on the ground. …You don't have to show off, that you are running around or leaping about here and there. As long as you are motivated inside, your focus is on the game and you are doing your job well, that's enough.
"I will narrate a story here," says Jaffer. "During our Test tour of South Africa in late 2006, there was a lot of controversy surrounding Sreesanth. So one day Dravid addressed the team on what he thought aggression was all about. He told us that aggression is about standing up to be counted when your team is in a dire situation. Aggression is getting your team through in times of need, Rahul said, and not abusing the opposing player.