Cricket is such an obsession in India that it is not unusual for fans to go overboard in expressing their disappointment when an Indian Test or one-day or T-20 player scores poorly or bowls atrociously in a match or in a series. Most players brave the extreme expression of anger and disgust knowing that it will wear off in time and when he does well they will be their appreciative selves, fawning over their darling cricketer.
But one player in current days – ace batsman Virat Kohli, one of the best in world cricket—has taken the fans and the media to task in scathing terms, disturbing a hornet’s nest. The bitter criticism he faced from sections of the Indian media following his failure during the Indian cricket team’s 2015 ICC World Cup semi-final loss to Australia has left Virat Kohli “disappointed” and “hurt”. Speaking out for the first time about the barrage of vitriol he faced following India’s defeat, Kohli said that those people who had made harsh comments should be “ashamed of themselves”.
Following India’s 95-run loss, during which Kohli made one run off 13 balls, there was widespread criticism of him not delivering in a crucial game, but what seems to have irked the Test captain are attacks on his personal life. His girlfriend actress Anushka Sharma was blamed for Kohli’s virtual surrender in the match when the hopes of millions rested on his shoulders.
It would have been considered bad enough for any player to pick up cudgels in a show of aggression but Kohli is no ordinary cricketer. He has recently been anointed captain of India’s Test squad with Mahendra Singh Dhoni opting out of the coveted slot and the fans expected better behaviour from him. His arrogance, brashness and rude behaviour have indeed been unbelievable considering that success was knocking at his door.
Many are left wondering whether such a mercurial person can be trusted with the captaincy. It was on the cards that in due course even the mantle of captain in one-dayers and T-20s would have in the natural course devolved on Virat Kohli. Now, it may well be a different ballgame.
The flamboyant cricketer also had a run-in with the media in the midst of the World Cup when he abused a journalist of a leading English daily mistaking him to be another scribe who had written adversely against Kohli during his failures in India’s tour of England.
Kohli’s record in accepting umpiring verdicts has also not been reflective of sportsman-spirit.