King Kohli questioned in his own court

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | R MOHAN AND C SANTHOSH KUMAR
Published Nov 9, 2018, 12:00 am IST
Updated Nov 9, 2018, 2:04 am IST
Team India captain’s sharp response to a cricket fan meets with criticism, trolls
Virat Kohli
 Virat Kohli

Kohli is being trolled nastily and at length. He may have overstepped the boundary here as he blasted a fan for saying he liked some international batsmen more.

Is Kohli courting controversies intentionally to stay in the news? Is he following in the footsteps of his state-mate Gautam Gambhir, who seems to have already become the voice of the ruling BJP’s ideology? These are the pertinent questions being raised as Kohli found himself on a sticky wicket for his unsavoury response to a cricket enthusiast.

 

The comment — “I don’t think you should live in India” — clearly didn’t go down well with the public and social media users who trolled the star cricketer for his sharp tongue.

A fan termed Kohli as “overrated” while expressing his admiration for English and Australian batsmen on a newly-launched app promoted by the cricketer himself. The Indian skipper didn’t mince words either while responding to the fan. As Kohli read out the comments in a video post, it was quite obvious that he was far from pleased.

“Over-rated batsman and personally I see nothing special in his batting. I enjoy watching English and Australian batsmen more than these Indians (sic),” the fan’s tweet read. “Okay, I don’t think you should live in India then you should go and live somewhere else, no? Why are you living in our country and loving other countries? I don’t mind you not liking me but I don’t think you should live in our country and like other things. Get your priorities right,” Kohli said in the video.

The netizens trolled him for the “unsavoury” comment while also pointing out Kohli’s hypocrisy in promoting an array of foreign brands in the Indian market.
If this Kohli’s act has nothing to do with the bubble celebrities live in and listen only to the acolytes and marketing men around them, then it seems only to reflect his innate political ambitions. And since this was no tweet authored by a ghost but the cricket neta’s own opinion as spoken to the camera, it is clear Kohli is being seduced by the power people wield in the national capital.

Harsha Bhogle may have a point when he says, “Power and fame tend to attract those who agree with you and reinforce your opinion because they benefit from proximity to fame and power,” when he points out the comfort bubble the rich and the famous live in. But this is not for sportsman.

A cricket fan — more than the football lover who can be more driven by tribal loyalties — would like to think of himself as a connoisseur of the display of talent on the pitch. The hardcore fan makes no national distinctions in enjoying the spectacle of cricket as art even if he supports his national team as such.
Kohli’s line “I don’t think you should live in India” sounds very similar to the “go and live in Pakistan” often heard in closing many arguments in the country. The kind of cricket nationalism he wants fans to follow will win him no friends. The internet is full of arguments both ways about it, but there is nothing to suggest anyone hates his beautiful drives through the covers.

There is huge respect for all the runs he makes for his national team and he makes far more than anyone else. He should, however, understand that Team India has not won anything significant in style away from India for quite a while now. So, where would cricket jingoism take the fan if he blindly supports Team India?

The appreciation of sport goes beyond geography and religion. A cricketer himself applauds in his mind an opponent’s great feat and appreciates his talent. When they pick their favourite batsmen or bowlers, they pick from across the spectrum and not only from India. Greats like Sachin Tendulkar and Viv Richards were universally acknowledged as great and not because they were Indian or West Indian. They were popular performers anywhere in the world.

Kohli is in an elite zone where he is playing ‘in the zone’ as sportsmen tend to say. At such a time he cannot make a comment running down a fan just because he may like an Australian or England batsman. The rankings are not the only index, particularly when it comes to appreciation of a batsman’s elegance or bowler’s subtlety or even sheer pace.

Such pettiness was not expected of such a distinguished cricketer. At the height of his career, Sachin would never have run down a fan in public like this. He was too aware of his status as a young people’s icon. Kohli must learn a lesson from this nasty experience with the trolls who stood up for a principle and criticised him.

Twitterati take a dig at the skipper

Mihir (@_buggywhip): Isn’t Kohli a Federer fan? He should leave India for liking Federer over Yuki or Saketh or Ram.

Preetam Thakur (@PositvlyOptmist): Lol I like Jennifer Lawrence more than Anushka Sharma that’s why I moved to US.

Pratik sinha (@free_thinker): One day soon in India. Don’t like the Indian squat toilet? Prefer the western commode? How can you like the commode while living in India? Get your priorities right or get out of India.

Sandhya Menon: Does kohli use an Indian made phone to read those tweets on? And don’t you endorse Audi, Puma and Tissot, @imVkohli?

vijayakrishnan KB (@vijayakrishna19): Just because he happens to be captain of the Indian cricket team, he thinks India is his ancestral property?

Asif (@asif737NG): Much the same way people of Indian origin in Australia and England cheer for India whilst enjoying the perks of being citizens of those countries. What say @imVkohli ? Please ask all NRIs to support the baggy green on your tour
to Australia next month.

HT01

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