Boltís feat a lesson for Indiaís young talent gone astray
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Beyond the extraordinary race they provided us Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake force us to revisit the eternal debate between natural ability and hard work. On the left, Bolt, he of the fast twitch muscles and the huge levers; on the right, Blake, who trains so hard that when his coach gives him a programme he "damages it". Did talent beat work ethic then? Is it true that, as Allan Massie in the Daily Telegraph quotes Aldous Huxley, "Nature is monstrously unjust. There is no substitute for talent. Industry and all the virtues are of no avail".
It is a much deeper debate than that. Nobody is only talented or only hard working. But there is little doubt that if talent is combined with ambition and work ethic (and make no mistake there is far far more to Bolt than mere great natural endowment) it makes for an unbeatable combination. If unequally talented people have an identical attitude, the greater talent will always win. Blake discovered that in London.
But not everyone who is gifted can take the attention and the kind of financial rewards Bolt does and remain unaffected. Young footballers in England and cricketers in India are excellent examples of that; of how reward can hold talent's hand and lead it astray. Let's look at an example.
On the 2nd of March 2008 Rohit Sharma, already a much talked about name in Indian cricket circles, scored 66 against Australia in a run chase in the first final of the CB Series.
He put on 123 with Sachin Tendulkar and it was apparent to anyone who had eyes that a special talent had arrived. He didn't just hit good shots, he was calm, organised his innings with maturity and looked ready to play Test cricket. That was four and a half years ago.