Yes, this was a click-bait headline. And you fell for it too, didn’t you? Of course you did, here you are in spite of yourself. Sex, as we know, sells big-time in India, and Virat Kohli, probably the most searched cricketer and Indian cricket’s pin-up boy, make a sure-shot combination. People were supposed to click, and you were one of them. Now that you’ve got this far, you might as well read on to see why I did what I did. You’re my target audience for this piece anyway. Alternately, feel free to blast me in the comments without reading. It’s what most of you do anyway.
Virat Kohli and sex: two of India’s favourite topics and not necessarily in that order. We love sex, don’t we? Having it, oppressing it, talking about it, obsessing about it, deriding it, seeking it, controlling it. Yes, we all have a thing about sex, even if we never admit to it. By this point you are probably wondering why I am talking about sex so much, and what it has to do with Virat Kohli.
Kohli and Anushka Sharma have been in the news for some time. They are the “hottest couple” around. They have been seen together at IPL matches (Kohli was even fined for it!), made public appearances at Wimbledon, and gone shopping with each other. Does that last point seem a bit weird? It should. A picture of Kohli and Anushka (backs turned, and clearly NOT posing) was seen doing the rounds on social media. We carried it too. We didn’t want to, but we had to. Why? Because that’s what you wanted.
And here’s the problem. We, as a society, are always far more interested in what our cricketers are doing off the field than an analysis of what they are doing on it.
That is a pictorial description showing the top stories on Virat Kohli over some time. Do you see a pattern here? The top stories involve him and Anushka Sharma. Does this say something about the kind of content you, as a reader, are interested in? It should. Maybe stop caring about what he, or any other cricketer, does off the field. They are Human Beings who deserve some basic privacy. It’s not like they don’t post pictures themselves (check out Chris Gayle’s Instagram account, he practically lives on a stage). But rather than scrutinise their every move, let them have a life — and enjoy it — outside of the cricket field. Why should it matter to anyone whether he and Anushka attend an award function together? This holds true for all cricketers; let them live their lives without having to constantly worry about “being seen” with their significant others.
Let us delve a little deeper. Over the last month or so, the Kohli + Anushka posts on Facebook have done up to five times better than the ones with Kohli alone. In fact, one of the Kohli + Anushka posts did over 10 times better than the live updates of India A’s match against Australia A — which featured Kohli — did. Let that sink in: A post with Kohli and Anushka did nearly 10 times better than updates on a match KOHLI WAS PLAYING IN! To be fair, the interest picked up over the next day, but not nearly enough to rival the Kohli + Anushka one.
As you can see here, “BCCI bans WAGs on India tour of Sri Lanka 2015″ has generated a lot of interest among you, as a reader. That is not the problem, the point of providing you with news is to generate interest. What is extremely disappointing, as someone who cares about cricket and not only cricketers, is the shocking lack of interest that was seen in an actual cricket match. It’s not like this was an inconsequential or boring match either; a powerful Indian batting line-up comprising of India’s Test captain and an under-fire Cheteshwar Pujara was seen in action. This was a high-profile match despite not having international status. And yet, the number of people who seemed to care were ridiculously outshone by the ones who cared that WAGs won’t tour Sri Lanka with the team. How does that make you feel, as a “cricket” fan?
I can tell you how it makes me feel as a writer: a bit hopeless. If at all I were to draw parallels, my mind goes to films and Bollywood. We live in a world where Dabangg was hailed as a masterpiece by all and sundry. Some of the most intelligent films we have seen over the years have been relegated to “artsy” films (therefore by default boring) while the Dabanggs of the world rack in millions. Clearly our overall intelligence as a society is diminishing, so I suppose it isn’t too surprising that the cricketer literacy is going down as well.