Move over Narendra Modi as there is a new ‘hated figure’ in the town who is earning the wrath of ‘Liberals’ these days. He has been able to achieve this distinction through his sheer hard work and unparalleled patriotism. He is none other than the answer to the questions all the cricket fans were asking after Sachin’s retirement – Virat Kohli.
He always attracted a lot of criticism for his on-field aggression and in-your-face attitude. Sure, some of the criticism was warranted given his tendency to resort to the choicest of abuses on the cricket field but ask any Delhi-ite and he would not think much of it as that is the kind of words a person grows up within Delhi (This is not to demean Delhi or to justify his actions but stating the reality as it is).
But the level of criticism and ‘hate’ against him has grown exponential with the performance of the Indian team in recent years under his leadership. ‘Hatred’ towards him increased many folds when he asked an Indian cricket fan to leave the country if he does not support the Indian team. This was at the time when the Nationalists were asserting themselves unashamedly buoyed by the dynamic leadership of Narendra Modi and sounds of ‘leave the country’ were common for those who hated him or were demonizing India due to their rabid hate.
He was brutally criticized for leading the Indian team on the field with ‘camouflage caps‘ to support Indian Armed forces after the dastardly Pulwama terror attack. This was at the time of the general elections in India which the ‘Left Liberals’ had made a referendum on the ‘Idea of India’ (whatever that is) and this act of his was seen as a betrayal of that idea which they were fighting for. Since then, the ‘Left Liberals’ have renounced the Indian cricket team completely and are seen cheering for the other side whenever India plays, and are seen claiming a moral victory for the opposition whenever Indian team wins, which has become almost an everyday occurrence.
Virat Kohli and the Indian team are chided for the lack of sportsman spirit which these people mistake for being weak and defeat. They hide their faces in the sand like an ostrich when Virat Kohli scolds the Indian fans for booing Steven Smith or when he gifts his bat to Mohammed Amir to show his support for the beleaguered player who was making a comeback after the five-year ban, the acts of true sportsman spirit.
These people equate sportsman spirit with weakness, mediocrity and lack of fight which inevitably leads to more defeats than wins. That is what these people want. They rue the era of ‘classic’ cricket when there was an emotional connect with the Indian team which used to invariably get defeated despite the presence of some of the legends of the game. They hate this ‘cold-hearted’ Indian team which brings back the memories of the Australian team of the late 90s and early 2000s.
They are unable to connect with this ‘new Indian’ team which is ruthless in its approach when it comes to winning. This new Indian team is a reflection of the ‘Naya India’ which PM Narendra Modi keeps referring to, which is hungry for success and does not shy away from hard work to achieve that.
This is the ‘new Indian’ team which does not shy away from dropping performing players to send out a clear message regarding the importance of fitness. This fitness revolution led by the leader himself at the top has changed the fortune of the team in recent years (sounds like the case with the country in general, where development revolution led by the leader of the country has changed the fortune of the country in recent years).
It was not like fitness was not on Indian team’s captain’s minds before Virat Kohli. Dhoni had asked for fitter players in limited overs cricket as far back as in 2008. He was often criticized for nudging the senior players out of the team due to fitness issues. But Virat Kohli has taken it to a different level which Indian cricket fans had never seen before. He pushed the legend himself, Dhoni, to get fitter in last few years after his retirement from Test cricket and the results are for everyone to see with him giving a run for money to any young wicket-keeper with his performances even at a ripe age of 37.
They hate him because he has been able to instil a ‘winning’ mindset in the team which is unlikely to change for the foreseeable future whether or not he is at the helm of the affairs or not. He does not accept mediocrity and stumps everyone with his commitment, achievements and passion even after all these years.
The ‘Left Liberals’ ecosystem has promoted mediocrity over the years and who hate India and its achievements in any form. They want India to lose just because Indian win would fan the feelings of ‘toxic hyper-nationalism‘ according to them. They are simply unable to accept the fact that one man (Narendra Modi) has been able to make them irrelevant, a task that seemed impossible just till a decade back, and they seem to have no answer to his sheer hard work, determination, passion and vision.
And Virat Kohli seems to be showing the similar traits on the cricketing field while taking Indian cricket team in the same direction. Both are unabashedly patriotic, a trait enough for these people to hate them. Just like Narendra Modi seem unaffected and even buoyed by their ‘hatred’, Virat Kohli also seems to be paying no attention to these ‘haters’ – which frustrates them further and leads to even more ‘hate’. They have embroiled themselves in this vicious circle.
With the general election win in 2019 for Narendra Modi and India doing reasonably well under Virat Kohli, there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel for these habitual ‘haters’.