May 9, 2014

New hope for cricketers suffering from IPL affluenza

An 11-point formula to overcome the malaise

Subramaniam Badrinath: the more you think about his absence, the more you will question your self-worth © BCCI

Do you suffer from feelings of inadequacy? Are you experiencing anxiety at work? Have you been rendered impotent by an over-inflated sense of self-worth? Do you find yourself unable to perform with your customary abandon because of a newfound "guilt" over how precious you are?

Perhaps you recognise the following symptoms:

An overwhelming desire to be swallowed whole into cracks in the pitch.

You religiously avoid the owner of your franchise like you owe him money or something (and let's face it, you sort of do).

You are Yuvraj Singh.

You develop such a haunted, desperate gleam in your eyes that even Harsha Bhogle thinks twice about approaching you.

You are Kevin Pietersen.

Your once-fluent footwork has deserted you to the extent that you can barely put one foot in front of the other to make it down to breakfast with the rest of the team, let alone down the pitch to be stumped again.

If any of the above describes you, you could be suffering from IPL affluenza, a condition said to affect one in four major purchases made by Royal Challengers Bangalore, among others. Fortunately, however, there is a way out of this malaise. You need to only abide by the following simple steps, as originally featured in Volume 7 of Chicken Soup for the Soulless IPL Cricketer, to get your mojo back and be a productive and fully functioning part of IPL society again.

1. Relax and take a load off by playing some fantasy league cricket. Just make it a point to not pick yourself in your team, so that you might feel better about being the waste of money and space you have proven yourself to be in the real life, non-fantasy league.

2. Remember, it's not your fault. No, it's certainly not your fault that you were bought for an amount that could have been better spent breathing some life into your owner's bankrupt airline business. Or provided free electricity and healthcare to the entire population of your ancestral village for years to come. Or, to put it in a language that you might understand: an amount that could at the very least have bought your struggling franchise someone like S Badrinath about ten times over. So why worry about something that, while clearly a colossal mistake, wasn't in your control?

3. Avoid S Badrinath if and when you see him. In fact, put all thought of him out of your mind. His absence in the competition is only going to make you feel guilty about your not making the best of your own chances, and we need to focus on removing all negative emotional triggers from your life right now.

4. Remember, you have more Twitter followers than that young no-name upstart in your team daring to steal your thunder and cast you in a bad light, so you must be good.

5. Feeling alienated within your own team? Prove that money hasn't made you any less of a team man by making a point of rubbing shoulders with people who until now you had assiduously not even given the time of day. For example, surprise everyone (not least yourself) by joining the "poor table" at breakfast, where previously those cricketers who were bought for only a crore or less were segregated from the rest. The goodwill engendered by such acts of humility will foster positivity and lead to improvements in team dynamics and performance, including and especially yours.

6. It might help to remember the old adage that form is temporary, class is permanent. And that your base price is going to take one hell of a nosedive come the next auction if your form continues to remain as temporary as it has done in recent times. Pull your socks up and get classy already.

7. You may not be the spokesperson for a popular women's shampoo just yet, but it nevertheless can't hurt to tell yourself every now and then that "I, too, am worth it." Pouting and throwing your head back with a flourish to get the hair out of your eyes is strictly optional.

8. A nice way to start the day is to stand in front of the bathroom mirror, look yourself in the eye and count off the seconds before you start to weep uncontrollably. Each day, try to delay the inevitable sobbing by a few seconds at a time until you have gone a whole minute without crying. What you do with the rest of your day is your own business.

9. Remember, you might be coming a cropper now, but at least you look good doing it. From that esoteric $500 haircut to being bleached to the bone by skin-whitening creams, no one has made failure look as beautiful as you have.

10. Research indicates that visualising success often leads to actual success. So before you hit the field next time, spend a few minutes picturing yourself switch-hitting boundaries and taking balletic catches; they might just come true. If they don't, at least you get to be featured losing your wicket again in another of those slow-motion action montages set to plaintive music that the broadcasters play between deliveries every now and again.

11. Last but not least, take a good, hard look at Glenn Maxwell. What is it about him that makes him bat like the only weight on his shoulders is the shirt he's wearing, while yours feels like it's been double-dipped in cement? Maybe all that ails you is a potent nickname. "Big Show" is already taken, but hey, maybe you might be allowed - encouraged, even - to use its abbreviation: BS.

R Rajkumar tweets here.
All quotes and "facts" in this piece are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?