Anil Thakraney: Don’t kill Kohli

21 Mar,2012

By Anil Thakraney


Young Virat Kohli must be pleased as punch. Not only did he manage to do the unthinkable – eclipse Sachin’s 100th 100 – the hot, new sensation is sitting on a goldmine. Imagine the excitement inside corporate boardrooms, as brand managers salivate at the prospect of signing multi million dollar contracts with the lucky dude. And also inside the buzzing rooms of editors and programming heads, as they plan huge spreads for the new found hero. What works even more for Kohli is that he looks reasonably good, unlike most desi cricketers. This makes him a huge media and ad property.


I must quickly add here that I personally have very little respect for brand managers who piggyback on celebrities. This is their way of acknowledging that they are idea-less and want someone else to save their skin. But that’s a debate for another day. I have a larger worry at this point of time.


Not every cricketer is mentally as strong and sorted as Tendulkar. Too much adulation and quick riches could easily go to Kohli’s head; he’s still very young, a 23-year-old lad. We have finally found a real match-winner in the cricket team, a player who doesn’t get intimidated by huge targets, and it’s in the nation’s interest that we carefully nurture this rare talent. We need to give the guy some space and time to mature (he’s got a long way to go), and both, the media and the marketers, must go easy on the young man. Hold the mega praises and the fat endorsement contracts for a bit, people. Let’s not kill the golden goose. We must think India first.


Having said all of the above, I am equally aware that I am wasting my time out here. Our celeb-obsessed media and our idea-starved brand managers will pay no attention to this. They will go for the kill. What to do, we are like this only. All I can say is, one hopes Virat Kohli stays grounded. And keeps his head screwed on. Else, he’s finished. Like one Vinod Kambli.




PS: Must read. An interesting profile of Imran Khan. From his playboy days to his new avatar as a devout Muslim. From captaining a difficult cricket team to the burning ambition to lead a ravaged nation. And of course, his recent bonhomie with dodgy mullahs and terror groups.




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