Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Leading from the front.

Dhoni led from the front, reports The Hindu, after his match-winning performance.

This cricketing cliché “leading from the front” is something that newspapers love to use. Try Google search and the first page will throw up at least 3 entries pertaining to cricket.

Except when he leads his team in and out of the circular field, there is very little scope for a cricket captain to do justice to this expression. So, why this nonsensical headline?

Apparently, the usage is idiomatic and borrowed from the Army. The story goes that in World War I, there was an Army Major who believed in ‘pushing his troops from behind”. Once, when he sighted the enemy, he opened fire and was immediately rendered troopless.

So, during World War II, the Army manuals were suitably revised and the Majors instructed to ‘lead from the front” instead of ‘pushing from behind”.. Once, a Major who was following the rules laid down in the manual and was marching in front, instructed his troops to open fire. They shot him dead, rendering themselves leaderless.

Now, the manuals say that the leader must lead from the front, but must “pull to the side’ while instructing the soldiers to open fire.

Military techniques must keep evolving, you see. I hope someday that cricketing news headlines will too.


Mambalam Mani said...

For a second, I actually believe the story!

Raj said...

MM, after the first second, you didn't?