Branding  helps, off the field and definitely not on !


Indian selection committee had made a mistake. I say HAD and not HAS. Which has been corrected. Will talk about it later in this blog.

My point is, some players or actors get branded. Some actors get branded as vilain some as comedian some as chocolate heroes. They are happy for few days. Their going gets good, then easy, then they realize that they are trapped in their own image , get suffocated and their motivation takes a steady dip. Nasiruddin branded as art film actor did so well in commercial blockbuster Tridev. Jitendra a typical masala film choice, unexpectedly and (unwantedly as well)  exceeded his potential in Gulzar’s classical fims.

Many cricket players have suffered due branding, imposed by selectors , media, public on them.

Karsan Ghavari was one. He was genuine pace bowler . But India missed him as a spinner due to his image as ‘fast bowler’. In a test match against England, there was chance of victory on last day. Bedi was captain and Gavaskar as his deputy. Rare but true, Bedi was not bowling good enough to take wickets, was reluctant to  try Ghavri,  who used to be occasional left arm spinner as well. Ultimately when Bishen went off the field, stand in captain Sunny immediately and gladly handed  a cheery to Karsan and he bowled like a genuine left arm spinner, turning the ball viciously and hurried the batsmen with his off the pitch nip (rapidness). England suddenly crumbled and almost lost the match.

”Please do not ever try spin” was Bedi’s insecure advise to Ghavari. Many Wicket Keepers get branded as ‘a lower order batsmen’ though they have genuine batsman’s ability and deserve to go up the order. Many batsmen get branded as openers and then lose the place if they request team management to allow him to play down the order.

Jhonty Rhodes was branded top class fielder but more than that man of crisis for team. Dravid branded as slow, steady technically sound Test match friendly bat, but has ten thousand plus  runs in one day  and won the ODI matches for India more times than so called branded  big hitters.

Durani Salim branded as sixer man but won Test matches on bowling. Mohinder, unfortunately branded as comic batsman while playing hook of bouncers but was most prolific scorer in Pacers dominated Pakistan  West Indies twin tours, scoring hundred every second match, where other greats had to play spectator clapping  his heroics , Eknath Solkar branded as world’s best short leg specialist, played bigger role as batsman who pulled India out of woods (To put it straight, India in those days used to be in trouble at least once in every match). List is long and may not be  applicable to cricket only.

So whant’s the crux ? Trying for African Safari a gun, generally loaded with only Twenty four bullets (four overs fire machine)  Boomrah is a positive  correction. A test class lethal weapon was never tested, and was presumed and  branded as just a shorter format bowler.

Whatever cash  I have,  I put on him. Boomrah will boom, blossom and breathe fire as much as Bhuvaneshwar Yadav and definitely more than other sponsored tourists of Indian pace attack.

Boomrah is right arm Wasim Akram and may I politely remind that Wasim Bhai had ripped through every  wall he bowled at. Just putting a query to our big four (Sachin, Rahul,  VVS, Sourav ) might still result in a hastily jerky response.

Branding helps. But getting branded ? Definitely not. Never!!!


Aju Deshpande

A Sportsnasha exclusive





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