Sports has an uncanny way of taking you to the euphoric of highs and at the same time plummeting you to the lowest of lows – yesterday’s sporting Sunday, being a case in point. While Liverpool thrashed Manchester United 5-0 at the Theatre of Dreams i.e Old Trafford, the Indian fans were crestfallen after Pakistan inflicted 10-wicket hiding upon the Indian cricket team in Dubai, ending the latter’s invincible record in World Cup’s against the cross-border Neighbours.
However, it wasn’t the loss that stung, for it came in the Super-12 stage, with the result not having a huge consequence on India’s campaign, albeit it was the pre-match shenanigans of the Indian cricket side that let down its fans.
The confusion leading up to the act
After the national anthems of the respective teams, Indian openers sauntered across the turf to open the batting. However, a momentary confusion ensued as Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul looked towards the dressing room as if waiting for some kind of signal.
The commentators were perplexed, as were the viewers before it became clear that the Indian openers were seeking the nod to go ahead and take a knee for the Black Lives Movement campaign.
After 30-seconds of confusion, the two openers knelt while the entire Indian squad, behind the boundary lines, sat on one knee. The Pakistani team didn’t take the knee but crossed their hands and placed it on their hearts. The confusion amongst the Indian camp meant that the decision was taken at the eleventh hour with little to no consultation with the players.
With the Indian side having few Social Justice Warriors in its ranks, it doesn’t take much to join the dots as to who would have orchestrated the entire act.
No problem with BLM but what about the problems in the immediate vicinity?
Right off the bat, TFI has no problem in anyone taking the knee but it’s also important to have a context when one does so. Taking the knee is a symbolic gesture that emerged in the United States of America when Colin Kaepernick in 2016, sat down during the national anthem at an NFL preseason game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers to protest against racism prevalent in the states.
His gesture divided the sporting world into two as several influential brands pulled the plug on Kaepernick’s endorsement deal as the gesture fizzled out with time. However, after the death of George Floyd, the racism conversation was re-ignited and led to a movement where sporting teams, especially in the West started taking the knee to show solidarity and reaffirm the belief that there is no space for racism in the game or any sphere of life.
The movement was aimed for the betterment of blacks in the states but what the Indian team did was simply an empty re-enactment of a Western symbolic gesture, that reeked of an inferiority complex. The woke athletes of the team wanted the empty participation trophy by aping a movement that would make absolutely no impact.
Cricket doesn’t have a racism problem
Cricket as a sport has never had any serious problem associated with racism. South Africa might have had a few issues due to the country’s history with apartheid but other than that, the game has never been required to address the issue, for it has never existed.
For sake of argument, it can be understood that the Indian team was speaking to a global audience and wanted to send a positive message. However, wouldn’t it have made more sense if they choose an issue that affected the population of the country that gets behind the side in numbers, during thick and thin?
By using the popular public sentiment as a decoy, the Indian cricket team took the woke road with an illogical, ill-judged decision that backfired spectacularly in the end.
Naturally, the riled-up netizens ripped into the Indian team for having a misplaced sense of priorities. The netizens remarked that while Hindus were being slaughtered in Bangladesh, the Indian team kept mum but for a foreign, cool woke gesture, they knelt.
Meanwhile, another one wrote, “So, Virat Kohli now has the distinction of leading India to its first rout against Pakistan in World Cup. This feat while he was teaching Indians how to celebrate Diwali and our team was busy kneeling West-style for some western cause. What an advertisement of colonial slavery.
The onslaught continued as one remarked, “Go woke – go broke – they took the (Pakistani) knee (up the**).
Go woke – go broke – they took the (Pakistani) knee (up the ass). https://t.co/LAyxErJfp6
— Abhijit Iyer-Mitra (@Iyervval) October 24, 2021
Others called out the activism and duality of the Indian side by stating, “Indian cricketers on odd days: Endorse Fair & Lovely. Indian cricketers on even days: Black lives matter”
Indian cricketers on odd days: Endorse Fair & Lovely.
Indian cricketers on even days: Black lives matter
— Bharadwaj (@BharadwajSpeaks) October 24, 2021
The law of averages was bound to catch up and Pakistan sooner or later would have won a game against India. But the principles that should be the cornerstone of a proud Indian side were missing.
The side looked toothless, uninspired, jaded, and ginger in its approach. Meanwhile, Pakistan looked hungry and they capped off the victory by launching ‘Kuffar’ slurs (“𝗞𝘂𝗳𝗳𝗮𝗿 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗼𝗼𝘁 𝗴𝗮𝘆𝗮” (the infidel was destroyed) on the Indian team. So much so for it is just a game of cricket, right?