If you want a perfect illustration of just how young some of the current England squad are, you only had to watch this morning’s mad scramble for seats at the back of the team coach. Do they think we’re on a school trip or something?
Touring India isn’t about Angry Bird tournaments with your mates whilst teacher isn’t looking. It’s a steep learning curve. One based on pitting yourself against cricket’s biggest names in an unfamiliar, unforgiving environment. So how can they expect to outperform players like Tendulkar, Dhoni and Sehwag in the ultra-competitive world of Indian advertising endorsements if they’re too busy playing three card brag with the physio to get themselves a window seat for even the most basic form of building brand recognition?
Some of our first-time tourists would do well to take a lead from KP. No dashing to the back of the coach for him. He knows the responsibilities he has to his agent. So for him, it’s the calm, measured choice of a prime seat just over the forward wheel arch. Thus ensuring a maximised photo opportunity as the coach slowly pulls out from our hotel and past the assembled snappers eager for a non-threatening ‘I’m your ideal promotional selling point’ smile.
And that’s it. Bam! 9:30am and his pasty South African arse has already been pencilled in for fronting the new Andrex campaign poised for full Asian market penetration.
That’s KP for you. What a pro.
But some of these kids we’ve got with us. I don’t know. They seem to think a pan-continental toilet tissue advertising campaign is just going to fall into their laps.
And as for their assumption that the IPL franchise owners base their auction strategies on match-day performances. Such naivety. What’s cricketing competence got to do with it? Most IPL owners don’t believe you play the game unless they’ve seen you staring out from the side of a happy-meal box.
So if you want to be playing county cricket in rain-sodden April, keep running to the back of the bus. But if you want $750,000 for four weeks in the sun being Virat Kohli’s back-up, you’ve got to get your face out of the side of the coach and onto the side of a Pepsi can.
That is the basic skill you need to learn on your first trip to India.