Microsoft Headquarters in U.S. to Get Cricket Field

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has often talked about the leadership values he learnt while playing cricket in India.


The Microsoft headquarters in the United States may soon have a world class cricket field. As part of a plan to overhaul its 500-acre campus in Redmond, Washington State, Microsoft plans to come up with 18 new buildings, new public spaces, transportation facilities, and a cricket field. The move has been backed by Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella, who made his love for the game abundantly clear in his recent book, Hit Refresh.

In his book, Nadella, who belongs to Hyderabad, says, “No matter where I am, this beautiful game is always in the back of my mind. The joy, the memories, the drama, the complexities, and the ups and downs – the infinite possibilities. On those fields, I learned a lot about myself – succeeding and failing as a bowler, a batsman, and a fielder. Even today I catch myself reflecting on the nuances within the cricket rulebook and the inherent grace of a team of eleven working together as one unit.”

Cricket buffs at the Microsoft campus belonging to countries such as India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Australia, West Indies, South Africa, and England have had to make do with softball diamonds and soccer fields.

“But in a few years, they will have their own field of dreams — an oval, wicket and stumps that reflect the growing influence of employees from the cricket-mad nations of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia, Bangladesh, West Indies, South Africa and England,” Greg Shaw, a senior director in the office of the CEO at Microsoft, wrote in a post on LinkedIn.

Shaw added: “This may be the first proper recreational cricket ground ever designed and built as part of a major corporate or community project in the United States. Wikipedia shows less than a handful of cricket grounds west of the Mississippi, and the few that do exist are in the ancestral American cricket homelands of Philadelphia and New York.”

The cricket field, which is likely to measure about 250 feet by over 320 feet, will be where Microsoft Buildings 5 and 6 are located. “The team is speaking with cricket experts to get it just right. In that location, a well-struck ball — a six as they call it in cricket — could crash into Lake Bill, named for founder Bill Gates,” Shaw said.

Nadella recently shared the stage with veteran cricketer Anil Kumble during a discussion on his book in New Delhi. The Microsoft CEO said that the leadership values he learnt while playing cricket in India helped his 25-year career at the company. It helped him compete vigorously in the face of uncertainty and put the team first.

Nadella also talked about the role played by the sport in his career at the GeekWire 2017 Summit. He recalled how his captain once evicted him from the game when he was “bowling trash.” However, minutes later, Nadella was included back in the game. To him, that moment stood out.

“Why did he do that?” Nadella said at the summit. “He could have just broken all my confidence and thrown me off the team, but for some reason, he decided to give the ball back to me. That ability, that sensibility of what leaders can do to bring teams along to do their best work — that’s what we can learn from team sport,” he added.
The timeline for the project’s completion is five to seven years.

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