What comes to your mind when you hear the word "Caribbean"?
Beaches. Reggae music. People dancing without a care in the world. More beaches. Big burly fast bowlers. Usain Bolt. (Did we mention beaches?) And beer.
Chilled beer on the beaches.
But hey, forget the beers if you are part of the Indian cricket team touring the West Indies. The BCCI, short form for Beer Consumption Controllers of India, has instructed the players to stop posting photos on their social media account with alcohol bottles.
The reason? Well, drinking beer is immoral and sets a bad precedent for the millions of Indian youngsters who follow these cricketers, not just in the 'follow celebrities on Twitter, Instagram etc' sense of the word, but 'follow' as in aping what these guys do in real life. They are role models, y'know!
"There has been no written communication, but the manager has been asked to send a message to the players to ensure that nothing that could set a bad example should be posted online,” a BCCI insider was quoted as saying by the Hindu.
Yes. India is crazy about its cricket. All of us, as kids, used to imitate what our favourite cricketer did. The Sachin Tendulkar abdomen guard adjustment. The Sourav Ganguly double-blink. The Rahul Dravid shuffle across the stumps. The Virender Sehwag swag. But the BCCI have taken that logic a step too far in attempting to morally police their cricketers.
And make no mistake, this gag on 'beer photos' is exactly that - moral policing. There is, of course, the argument that these are professional cricketers and have a responsibility towards ensuring their own fitness health. But one must also remember that we are talking about the fittest Indian cricket team in years. Anil Kumble, in his first conference, said with the chuckle that fielding and fitness is the biggest change from his generation to the current crop of cricketers.
Think about that for a minute. From the days of Kumble, Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad and even Munaf Patel recently, Indian team is one of the fittest in world cricket at the moment. But yes, let's stop them from having a beer or two.
Famous sportsmen the world over have had their share of alcohol revelry. Shane Warne, only the greatest spinner of all time, openly talks about drinking. So did many member of the great Australian team of the late 90s and early 2000s. Formula One drivers, Michael Schumacher included, sip on champagne at the podium after every race. Grand Slam winners in tennis get together after tournaments for a night dancing and some wine. But yes, let's stop the Indian cricketers from posing with a beer bottle.
Ravi Shastri even spoke recently about how he used to have a night-life till 2 am and make centuries the next day. Wait, maybe that's why he did not get the job over Anil Kumble?
And also, there is this:
Forget that for a minute and consider the absurdity of this situation: BCCI wants the cricketers to not post photos with alcohol but it was barely a month back that the most famous cricketers in India were dancing to the tunes of "Oooh la la la leyo" -- the now ubiquitous Kingfisher jingle. The best cricketers in the world make themselves look silly year after year as 'they are divided by teams and united by Kingfisher -- the King of good times'.
Year after year.
Maybe the BCCI's defence would be that the Kingfisher advertisements do not *actually* show beer bottles or players having a good time drinking. But we would be willing to bet our life savings that more youngsters will be swayed towards Kingfisher beer by their star players singing the tune in prime-time for two months during the IPL than when KL Rahul posts a photo with a half-visible beer bottle on his Twitter / Instagram / Snapchat / Facebook account.
Which begs the question, will BCCI strike down the commercial revenue they get from their players advertising for the most popular alcohol manufacturer in India? Fair game, don't you think?
But we doubt that will happen anytime soon.