For close to two weeks now, Indian cricket is being bruised. The sport, which is the soul of India and once united Indians is today becoming a game that divides the country. Could anything be more unfortunate? Virat Kohli was sacked as India’s white-ball captain last week. Ever since, it has been a bloodbath which is being witnessed between a factional Indian team and the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI).
Indian social media is rife with fans of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Sourav Ganguly bicker with each other. Virat Kohli’s extremist fans, who have resorted to hounding and doxing everybody who speaks against the former skipper, are causing irreparable damage to the social fabric of the country, not to mention alienating people from cricket itself.
Also read: Naming and Shaming Sourav Ganguly – Fans of Virat Kohli hit a new low
Here are some of the hashtags which have been trending on Twitter as of late: #IndiaStandsWithDada, #IndiaStandsWithViratKohli, #NationStandsWithDada, #IndiaWithSouravGanguly and #IndiaWithRohitSharma. What does this convey? Indian cricket has come to suffer the menace of factionalism. Virat Kohli has not shied from making a complete mockery out of the game. He should have been reined in by the BCCI a long time ago. However, the BCCI too seems to be inefficient in dealing with the crisis. Within the team, a mutiny was reported against Virat Kohli, led by Ravichandran Ashwin.
And then, there is the BCCI. Evidently, tensions are simmering between Virat Kohli and Sourav Ganguly. The two have not shied away from cleaning their dirty laundry publicly. Virat Kohli alleged that Ganguly never asked him to not put in his papers as India’s T20I captain. The BCCI, however, claims that Kohli was asked to reconsider his decision of stepping down as skipper of that format. All does not seem to be well between Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma too – a manifestation of which is seen on social media among the fans of the two cricketers.
Also read: Virat Kohli fans suffer a massive meltdown, accuse Ganguly of being ‘incompetent’
Virat Kohli could have exited white-ball captaincy in elegance. Instead, his larger-than-life ego just had to make a nuisance, and now, the scene which Kohli has created threatens to alienate Indians from a sport which has united the country for decades. Some players are just not fit for leadership roles. They do astoundingly well as individual players contributing to the glory of their team, but when it comes to captaincy, not everyone has the capacity to lead their teams to successive and high-voltage victories. Again, Sachin Tendulkar knew this. He knew he was much better-off as a team player rather than a team leader. He did not allow his ego to cloud his judgement and statements.
Sachin Tendulkar was replaced by Sourav Ganguly in 2000. He accepted the BCCI’s decision and continued bringing laurels to India in the year that followed. Virat Kohli’s temperament, however, suggests that he will not last long in the team as a player, now that he has been axed as captain. His run-ins with the BCCI further threaten his hold over the captaincy of Test cricket. The BCCI itself is not without fault. For far too long, it has given Kohli a long rope. When this rope was cut, the Board suddenly found itself injured as well. Now, the BCCI is not being able to calm tempers which are erupting like volcanoes in India’s cricket scene.
Also read: Virat Kohli has undone everything that he achieved in the last one decade
That leaves us with a simple question – how will this bickering impact Indian cricket? Frankly, it is going to destroy the sport. Indian cricket will never be the same again if the plague of factionalism is not destroyed from within the team right away. Owing to their egos, team players and BCCI officials have forgotten that India must emerge victorious as a result of every decision they take. However, personal interests and ambitions are today clouding the judgement of everybody that matters in Indian cricket – most prominently, of Virat Kohli.
Virat Kohli has some huge amounts of cash. He has a net worth of Rs. 980 crore rupees, and his status as a demigod seems to have gotten to his head. His fans abuse people who question or criticise him. They are targeted by a swarm of Kohli fans for merely speaking their minds. Kohli fans have taken their supreme leader global. #WorldStandsWithKohli was trending on Twitter at the time of filing this report. How and why should the world stand with Virat? It makes no sense, but for a hashtag aimed at countering #IndiaStandsWithDada – it is no less than a brahmastra.
There is only one loser which will emerge out of this long-drawn and unnecessary spat, and it is the Indian cricket.
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