Harsha Bhogle’s Apt Reply to Virat’s ‘Leave India’ Comment
Virat Kohli does what he wants. Virat Kohli says what he wants. Virat Kohli, in fact now, even plays cricket only when he wants.
The Indian cricket captain though has found himself in the middle of a controversy after asking a fan to ‘leave the country’ for a tweet in which they mentioned preferring cricketers from England and Australia.
Also Read : The ‘Virat’ Problem That is Captain Kohli
Virat’s reply was, of course, very Virat.
“I don't think you should live in India. Go and live somewhere else. Why are you living in our country and loving other countries? I don't mind you not liking me. I don't think you should live in our country and like other things. Get your priorities right," said the Indian skipper who is currently resting from India’s ongoing T20 series against West Indies.
Predictably, there has been an outpour of criticism directed towards the cricketer following his comments. The one that however has stood out are the tweets of Harsha Bhogle who’s worked closely with Virat for cricket broadcasts.
Unlike Mohammad Kaif or IPL Chief Rajiv Shukla who tried to say that Virat was being ‘misunderstood’, Bhogle got to the root of the issue and addressed the one growing problem that has been taking shape in Indian cricket, especially in the administrative vacuum created by the absence of a strong board president since the departure of Anurag Thakur in January 2016.
Bhogle wrote, “Virat Kohli's statement is a reflection of the bubble that most famous people either slip into or are forced into. 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. That is also why contrary opinions are frowned upon. Power and fame tend to attract those people who agree with you and reinforce your opinion because they benefit from proximity to fame and power.”
Virat Kohli is the undisputed cricket star of the world right now, scoring the most runs across formats in the last few years. He is also a strong enough voice in Indian cricket to have affected the sacking of Anil Kumble as the coach of the team last year. He is also the only player in the country who rests from almost every other tournament the team participates in.
With the board being run by a court-appointed Committee of Administrators – the composition of which has whittled down to two members from the original four – there really hasn't been any administrator in the BCCI who has tried to dispute any demand of the skipper.
All this invariably has created a ‘bubble’ where Virat Kohli calls the shots or calls out those views that oppose his own.
In the past year itself, the Indian skipper has subjected journalists to his ire on multiple occasions; be it when he was asked about the team’s dismal performance in South Africa or when Ravi Shastri called this current Indian team the best touring side in the last 15-20 years.
Virat Kohli and his aggression have become synonymous with Indian cricket, but now it seems to be reaching a phase where it’s transformed to the more dangerous avatar of arrogance.
The BCCI may let this attitude fester, but one wonders what effect this could have on the next generation of Indian cricketers that is now starting to make their way to the Indian dressing room. Do they want to ‘be like’ Sachin – the calm, composed, respectful hero or should they aspire to now become like the captain of their team –aggressive, derisive and, for Indian cricket, regressive?