RCB, fans, fanaticism, and title drought – Jinx to be broken?
The buzz has started, it will grow, but now with the IPL and then later with the World Cup, Kohli has the chance to do what few have done in the game.
Updated - Mar 22, 2019 6:00 pm
If fans are the biggest asset in sports, more often than not, these fans can well be the monkey on the back – more so for teams which have only been underperforming. Franchise sports is all about building a bond with the fanbase and then holding on to them. For Royal Challengers Bangalore, they have the players on the roster, they have the product, they have the fanaticism, but unfortunately, not the results.
So when catchy slogans become a great tool for marketing and when those very slogans are thrown towards the team for not performing, it becomes important for both sides to pause and reflect. And captain Virat Kohli certainly has. He agrees that last year a marketing campaign built around a Kannada chant that went “ee sala cup namde (This year the cup is ours)” was not very wise. Kohli acknowledged that this was perhaps jumping the gun even before the device was manufactured.
“We realised this last year. You shouldn’t create an atmosphere even before the tournament has started, that ‘we are going to win this year’, because there are seven other teams too. You have to be realistic. It’s not a one-team dominated tournament,” he said. “From my point of view, I can ignore it. But if you can’t take a guarantee that everyone else is going to ignore it, then it can stay in your mind.
So, will the fans be wiser, will the team be more receptive, will anything improve, will results finally fall into place? No one knows, hence to whip up frenzy might not entirely be well-advised and the captain could well have laid down a marker.
Is this the year for Bengaluru in cricket
And then the other day Sunil Chhetri swung by Chinnaswamy stadium – the captain of Bengaluru FC, the captain of the champions of India. Kohli shares a very cordial bond with Chhetri and there are plenty of similarities between the two. Charisma, performance and leadership bind them, a vocal fanbase keeps them going, but results at the end of the day, separate them. So, is this the year for Bengaluru in cricket too?
And then there are voices who are not very happy with the way Kohli has led the side. Yes, he has peeled off runs for fun for them, but even after seven seasons at the helm, he has not been able to get hold of the trophy. Gautam Gambhir does not consider him to be shrewd, but Ganguly wants him to continue because of his immense contribution to the side.
For the man himself, this year could be the making of a leader. There is no debate over his prowess with the bat, over his appetite to win games all on his own with the willow, but 2019 could be the year where Virat could drop the hammer in his leadership credentials.
The buzz has started, it will grow, but now with the IPL and then later with the World Cup, Kohli has the chance to do what few have done in the game. March out, set the pace, score runs and get the trophy back home.
No need to prop up speculative marketing campaigns, no need to sit down and speculate over plenty of what ifs – It is all about scrapping to get over the line.
“One thing that remains an essence for any team is striving for excellence and being committed to what you want to achieve. That takes commitment on a daily basis, and that is something I’m looking forward to this season. We will require absolute professionalism from all our players. We’ll give responsibility to the players to handle themselves on the field, off the field, and take good decisions, be responsible about their life and the sport as well,” Kohli has said.
So then that’s that!