In the world of advertisement, cricket sells. Instances of cricketers making fortunes through product endorsements are well known. They have been selling all sorts of things- from shaving cream to Chawanprash and from cycles to cars. But all this could change in the future, given the dismal performance of the Indian cricket team this year.
The Indian cricket team is going through its worst phase in recent times. Drubbings in Malaysia, the ICC champions trophy and now the shameful losses in South Africa. Things aren't getting any better and the despair saunters unabated. People are disappointed not because of the recent losses per se but the time wasted in what is a futile exercise, that is watching the Indian cricket team play.
A distinct rot seems to have developed, plunging the Indian team into a protracted period of complacency. When things come easy, human mind gets corrupted and we tend to take things for granted. Cricketers in India are considered to be demigods, bestowed with name, fame and money in abundance. Apparently performance seems to be the last thing on their minds.
Lets take the case of Dhoni. His rise to fame has been meteoric, but his performances leave much to be desired. As it happens, the aggregate time of Dhoni's television commercials far exceed the time he has spent on the field as a batsman, in recent matches.
Sehwag has fared no better. So much is the anguish that an agitated fan quipped," The pace at which Sehwag's hair are disappearing from his head is second only to the pace at which runs are disappearing from his bat.
Case of Irfan Pathan is more poignant. He used to be our wonder boy and now he has been relegated to being a sub. Irfan apparently is assailed by a conflict of roles. What's his role-bowler, batsman or allrounder? Fans are wondering and so is Irfan.
The master blaster Tendulkar can be safely said to be a relic now. It's been long since he last produced a winning knock. Average performance is not what people expect from a cricketer of his calibre. His propensity to get out bowled has been on the rise. It seems bowlers have worked him out to perfection.
Our only hero, Yuvraj Singh is down with a disastrous injury. His absence from the team hasn't helped things either.
Captain Dravid is no more the player he used to be before becoming the captain. He appears to be a beleaguered figure on the field. Nor has his body language been very reassuring.
Coming to Guru Greg. His role in the team has been the most suspect. He recently emphasised on process and insisted that results would follow. But he seems to be so obsessed with processes that results are hardly getting any attention. That is to say the means have become ends in themselves in his scheme of things.
Chappell has been notorious for making changes in the batting order. Interestingly and apparently he is more intent on shuffling his cards rather than playing the game.
Tough time lies ahead for the Indian Cricket Team. It is already on the backfoot losing the second and third one-dayers in South Africa. Making a comeback against the meticulous South Africans is going to be a Himalayan task.
The pressure is mounting and now our worthy Members of Parliament have also got into the act. We can be rest assured that, the team's problems have just been augmented. They demand that not a penny should be paid to our players for the recent matches. But does the match fees matter when they are earning handsomely through advertisement contracts. Probably the people should come forward in defiance and boycott the products promoted by our beloved cricketers. So when Boost is not helping Sehwag to perform well then how could it probably benefit we ordinary mortals.
One thing is for sure, something needs to be done immediately to resuscitate the falling fortunes of the Indian Cricket Team, lest the cricketers will become unpopular figures and lose their advertising contracts. Watching television would not be the same again, for it would be devoid of advertisements featuring our cricketers.
Email Kamal K Agrawal: email@example.com