Shamsher Chandel, The Hush Post
Cricket and corporate jugalbandi is about the story of the brand (Virat or MSD) saying dil mange more money and (Finolex pipes or Gulf Oil lubricant) craving to be brands like Virat and MSD.
Cricket in a way helps understand what is brand and what isn’t. To be called a brand there should be the exclusivity or the differentiating factor in the product. But if there are too many strong and exclusive brands, the brands themselves get relegated into a commodity. But then are they any less? The answer is they aren’t. That’s what is happening to the Indian cricket team, all brand-worthy yet just like commodities, sometimes like heaps of grain lying at the grain market waiting to be sold and consumed. Take KL Rahul, Wridhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, Murali Vijay or the-triple-century-on-debut-man Karun Nair. They are in and out of the team. But they are reliable, more reliable than many cricketing brands of the 80s.
So isn’t it okay to stay the commodity you are, true to your price, not a penny less not a penny more, when you are not the brand, and not even the commodity but pure value. And you exchange your value for an equal value.
Keep brand Virat and brand MSD aside for a moment, all other team members are value for value.
A small comparison of a gentleman called KL Rahul or Wriddiman Saha, if their names figure in KBC quiz, on whether one or the other is a bowler or a batsman, some contestants would be forced to take a lifeline. KL Rahul has scored four centuries and nine fifties in just 19 Test matches. In ODIs, he made a century and a half-century in 10 matches, and is still not sure of his place in the side. Wriddiman Saha has made 3 centuries and five half centuries in 28 Test matches. In ODIs he is far from dislodging Dhoni. Compare these gentlemen and their statistics to one of the biggest brands of Indian cricket of the 80s. Krishnamachari Srikanth, just made two centuries and 12 fifties in 11 years of international cricket in 43 matches. In the ODIs, he made four centuries and 27 fifties in 146 matches that he played over 12 years. He also helped the energy health drink Boost give a run for its money to Bournvita. And when he called it a day, the Boost owners too felt uneasy. Similarly, Ravi Shastri whose fastest century was like watching the cricket highlights in a slow motion. They were among the biggest brands back then much like the landline telephones, owning which was a matter of pride even if it was dead most of the times or the black and white television sets, which needed a booster and an antenna if it stayed undisturbed by the winds or the monkeys.
KL Rahul, Wriddiman, even Ravindra Jadeja and Ashwin from whom I can’t choose my favourite are much like the Huawei, Moto, Xiaomi mobile brands all of them have a powerful battery, a huge internal storage, and memory expansion but still they don’t figure right at the top because there are already the likes of the Samsungs, Apples, Nokias and LGs just as there are in team India, the Muralis, Shikhars, Pujaras and Rohits not to forget MSD and Virat.