Virat Kohli has had far more success as a cricketer than what Rahul Gandhi has had as a politician and while the Gandhi scion had everything served up to him on a plate, Virat had to work immensely hard to get where he is at, at this point in his career.
So, first up, this is not a comparison of their respective careers but one thing that needs to be pointed out is that Rahul Gandhi’s decision to move away from the media spotlight for 56 days seems to be the sort of step that Kohli would do well to emulate, so that he can clear his mind and come back as the cricketer whom we all knew.
Indian cricketers have had relationships with film stars in the past as well and in fact when Tiger Pataudi was going around with Sharmila Tagore, the couple did not in any way react to the media attention that they were inevitably going to attract in addition to the salacious gossip that goes with it.
In fact, Pataudi continued on the cricket field as he had been prior to the affair. Virat and her lady love, Anushka Sharma were under the impression that if they were open about their relationship then the media frenzy would die down but it hasn’t worked out that way and right from the time Virat had a horror show in England; the blame has been placed at Sharma’s door. Needless to say, the drop in form may or may not be due to the love affair but it is there for all to see that the media campaign has got to the Indian star, who now tries to go out of his way to put up a defiant front in an effort to spite the media.
That now is a very childish thing to do and it is a war that he is never going to win. It all started during the tour of England when some sections of the media and a large number of Indian cricket fans blamed Virat’s involvement with Anushka Sharma for his horror show in England. At the time, it seemed like just another piece of gossip that the batsmen could do well to ignore, however it all boiled over one tempestuous morning in Perth when Kohli decided to verbally abuse a journalist since he thought he had been one of the pack that had written those disparaging pieces on his love life and cricket.
No cricketer in his right mind would do that; he would refuse interviews or perhaps even say that he had written a bogus story about him (something that cricketers routinely do if they feel they have been hard done by) but abuse? It is unprecedented in Indian cricket and that too from someone who had just been appointed the captain of the Indian Test team.
No cricketer in his right mind would do that; he would refuse interviews or perhaps even say that he had written a bogus story about him (something that cricketers routinely do if they feel they have been hard done by) but abuse? It is unprecedented in Indian cricket and that too from someone who had just been appointed the captain of the Indian Test team. Moreover he was in the middle of a World Cup and after that initial scratchy century versus Pakistan on February 15th, Kohli scored nothing of note in the tournament.
Additionally, he had abused the wrong man and did not even apologise in person to the innocent journalist who had to endure the choicest of abuses from India’s premier batsman. So, is Kohli’s mental stability and by association his batting being affected by his association with Hindi film starlet Anushka Sharma? The answer is undeniably in the affirmative. The politically correct brigade might tell you that no such thing is happening but the reality is there for all of us to see and Kohli’s attitude regarding the whole thing is quite baffling. Has there ever been a captain who lets his girlfriend into the team bus?
Not that I can remember but after the game against KKR last week, Kohli, the RCB captain decided to take a ride back home from the stadium to the hotel in the team bus. The dressing room or the team bus are sacred places for cricketers and Kohli perhaps thinks he can get away with it, show two fingers to the media who pesters him and project himself as a sort of infallible cricket deity in this country.
The sad fact is that he has actually achieved nothing as compared to the larger than life persona that he is trying to project and although there is a case to be made that perhaps Anushka Sharma, a 2nd tier ‘Bollywood’ actress, has cashed in on the popularity of India’s biggest talent in order to make herself more marketable, there is no doubt that as India’s Test captain Kohli should know better. Former Indian captain divorced his first wife and married struggling actress Sangeeta Bijlani back in the day; however he did not let the campaign linking his poor form and his personal life get to him.
He did not go looking for journalists in order to abuse them. Kohli does not seem to be a player whose mind is exactly on the field of play since he is someone who is on a one-man crusade against the media who have the temerity on reporting on his love life. Perhaps like Rahul Gandhi, he should take a break from the game and re-evaluate his priorities so that he can come back as the player and the role model that everyone wants him to be.
If that is not possible then the RCB management and the BCCI mandarins should take a long hard look as to whether they want this immensely talented but unstable cricketer to be the future.
Author: A critique