In­dia cap­tain Kohli draws flak for ‘leave In­dia’ re­mark

Stabroek News - - STARBROEK SPORT -

NEW DELHI, (Reuters) - In­dian cricket cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli was in the eye of a storm on so­cial me­dia yes­ter­day af­ter he sug­gested a lo­cal cricket fan re­lo­cate to an­other coun­try for pre­fer­ring to watch English or Aus­tralian bats­men.

The 30-year-old was read­ing out tweets when he came across one which de­scribed Kohli, cur­rently the top ranked test bats­man, as “over­rated” and that Aus­tralian and English bats­men were more pleas­ing to watch than “these In­di­ans”.

“I don’t think you should live in In­dia then,” Kohli, who has 27.1 mil­lion fol­low­ers on Twit­ter, said in a video posted on his new app to sell ex­clu­sive mer­chan­dise.

“You should go and live some­where else, you know. 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... Get your pri­or­i­ties right,” he added with a wry smile.

Kohli’s com­ments evoked sharp re­ac­tions as peo­ple on so­cial me­dia pulled out a 2008 video, in which Kohli, then cap­tain of the In­dia un­der-19 team, de­scribed South African Her­schelle Gibbs as his favourite bats­man.

Also resur­faced, his 2016 tweet in which he had con­grat­u­lated An­gelique Ker­ber on her Aus­tralian Open vic­tory, declar­ing the Ger­man as his favourite women’s ten­nis player.

“Vi­rat Kohli’s state­ment is a re­flec­tion of the bub­ble that most fa­mous peo­ple ei­ther slip into or are forced into,” cricket com­men­ta­tor Har­sha Bhogle tweeted.

“The voices within it are fre­quently those that they wish to hear. It is a com­fort­able bub­ble and that is why fa­mous peo­ple must try hard to pre­vent it from form­ing.”

Mar­ried to Bol­ly­wood ac­tress Anushka Sharma, Kohli is the big­gest name in In­dian cricket and his face is plas­tered on bill­boards across the cricket-ob­sessed coun­try of 1.3 bil­lion.

A highly suc­cess­ful crick­eter with a pen­chant to get un­der an op­po­nent’s skin, Kohli is the sole In­dian in the Forbes mag­a­zine’s 2018 list of the world’s 100 high­est-paid ath­letes.

He en­dorses for­eign brands in­clud­ing Puma, Audi, Tis­sot and Uber. One critic posted a pic­ture of Kohli pos­ing with an Audi and sug­gest­ing he move to Ger­many since he loved for­eign cars.

Crit­i­cism came from In­dia’s movie in­dus­try as well.

“If you want to re­main #KingKohli it may be time to teach your­self to think ‘What would Dravid say?’ be­fore speak­ing in fu­ture,” ac­tor Sid­dharth tweeted, re­fer­ring to for­mer cap­tain Rahul Dravid who was fa­mous for his batting tech­nique and his econ­omy of words.

“What an id­i­otic set of words to come from an #In­dia #cap­tain!” the ac­tor added.

The crick­eter took to Twit­ter later on Thurs­day to play down the episode.

“I guess trolling isn’t for me guys, I’ll stick to get­ting trolled,” Kohli tweeted.

“I spoke about how “these In­di­ans” was men­tioned in the com­ment and that’s all. I’m all for free­dom of choice. Keep it light guys and en­joy the fes­tive sea­son. Love and peace to all.”

One fan said Kohli may have had a brain fade mo­ment and should not be at­tacked.

Vi­rat Kohli

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