If the tempo of life in the 20s is like a climax, then it’s more like an anti-climax in the 30s. If the 20s speed it up, the 30s slow it down. However, the world believes that slowing down means settling but settling also implies stagnating. And stagnating is equally detrimental to the flowing mind as it is to the running water!
This is not to suggest that Virat Kohli is someone who can be bogged down by the blues of the 30s. Certainly he cannot be that man, for he is a machine who operates on nothing short of 100% percent levels of energy. In recent times, however, he has looked a little tired, a bit jaded and a tad worn out. A dip in performance is the first symptom in an athlete’s case and as far as Kohli is concerned, it has been evident over the last couple of years.
The ‘first’ fascinates us. The first relationship, the first car, the first home, so on and so forth. For an average working person, these fascinations which he has fantasised (or rather, made to fantasise) all his life, get fulfilled in the 30s. Owing to this, a sense of vacuum engulfs him. He then desires to fill this vacuum with new volumes of fun, frolic or in short, freedom.
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It is no different for cricketers, or for that matter, celebrities. Although their fascinations are on the lines of first ‘star’ relationship, first ‘sports’ car, first ‘luxury’ home and so on. Because of their higher income and overwhelming popularity, another contrast is that they tick these boxes even before they reach their 30s. As a consequence, the fizz fizzles out faster for them.
Put your feet in Kohli’s shoes and search for the next milestone approaching in the road of his life. You won’t spot many, for he has crossed almost all of them already. After having experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, sleepless nights and morning jitters would be non-existent for him because he operates on the mechanical routine of ‘eat, sleep, train, repeat’ now.
So, how can Kohli infuse that ‘kick’ which athletes talk about so often? That spur of excitement, that craving for challenges? That adrenaline rush which propels them to dig them and keep their senses sharp? Escaping from the loop of captaincy is the first and the foremost step in this direction. And he was bold enough to announce the decision, albeit only in the shortest version of the game.
They say that talking is a far more energy consuming activity than it is perceived to be. And it isn’t merely talking that a captain is obliged to do. The different match situations demand speaking in different levels of decibel. The tone varies, but not the talking points.
As while interacting with players, the pep talk is more or less focused on giving 100% and of being alert, of sensing opportunity and such. While interacting with the media, the conversation usually revolves around the process, the bigger picture, the macroscopic dissection of the strategies, etc.
Kohli will have time to catch his breath when he next features in the most time-crunched format. Those additional moments will only be beneficial to his batting. The choice to take a sabbatical from cricket. Slowly, the trust is growing in this panacea which cures all the pain one has to endure while living in a bio-bubble world.
If Kohli takes this route, it will be a watershed moment not just for Indian sport. However, he isn’t the sole proprietor of ‘Brand Virat Kohli’. The equal stakeholders like the brands, businesses, etc don’t need a mention and they certainly will disapprove of his long absence from the public eye.
To imbibe a sense of freshness, he can start with the ‘break the beard’ trend when this month of ‘no shave November’ ends. How about a clean shave? Just to reminisce himself of his early 20s. It will also remind him of his fire and desire with which he began to realise the dream of 100 international hundreds.
In reality, those market monsters will even frown upon Kohli for a look change for it dilutes the ‘retention factor’ in the minds of the masses. How I wish he could once again be young, wild and free!