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WSJ writer Tunku Varadarajan tries to wedge Hindu-Muslim divide ahead of the T20 world cup: Here’s how he’s wrong

Facts and figures are the last things that Tunku is concerned with, given his divisive agenda to fuel hatred and paint gloom under the Narendra Modi-led BJP government in India. Without finding out how Siraj, Shami, Avesh, and Umran have fared in the chances the BCCI had given them, Tunku presumptuously assumed that their exclusion from the Indian Cricket team is because of their religion, a grossly mistaken belief to say the least.

WSJ writer Tunku Varadarajan has a long and storied history of making contentious comments. So continuing with his tradition, Varadarajan recently posted a controversial tweet trying to wedge the Hindu-Muslim divide in cricket ahead of the forthcoming T20 World Cup.

Tunku, who is the brother of Siddharth Varadarajan, another fearmonger and founder of The Wire, the far-leftist propaganda portal infamous for peddling fake news and stoking paranoia among Muslims, took to Twitter to insinuate that BCCI discriminates against players on the basis of their religion. Tunku tried to allude that Shami, Siraj, Avesh, Umran, and Mohsin are not in the current squad because they are Muslims.

“Shami, Siraj, Avesh, Umran, Mohsin. What do they have in common? & yes, they’re also not part of India’s #T20WorldCup2022 squad. I’m not a conspiracist. But such is the direction of India right now that I have to wonder … & wonder aloud. After all Amit Shah’s son is a BCCI man,” Tunku Varadarajan tweeted.

Tunku Varadarajan
Source: Twitter

To start with, Tunku is factually incorrect. Mohammed Shami is in the reserves for the upcoming T20 world cup. He was also included in the ongoing T20 series with Australia and later in the series against South Africa. However, he was dropped at the last moment after being down with COVID-19, following which Umesh Yadav was roped in as his replacement.

Had Shami been alright, he would have, in all likelihood, made it into the playing 11 and possibly scraped us a victory in the match against Australia on September 20, where the Aussies defeated the Indian team chasing a mammoth score of 209.

As far as Avesh Khan, Mohammed Siraj, and Umran Malik are concerned, they had been selected to represent India at the highest levels of cricket in different formats. In fact, Siraj continues to remain a permanent fixture in India’s test squad. He has been offered enough opportunities in T20 cricket but has, unfortunately, not been able to capitalise on them.

After being a consistent performer in IPL, Avesh Khan got a national call-up last November. However, he too failed to cement his position in the squad, especially after the Indian team’s disastrous run in Asia Cup, where it failed to qualify for the finals and was defeated by a callow yet determined Sri Lanka and a formidable Pakistan team. 

Khan had a dream IPL run but his stats while serving for the national team have been rather ordinary. His economy is on the higher side and his ability to squeeze runs has been dismal, as the numbers show. 

Avesh Khan’s bowling stats (Source: Cricbuzz)

Umran Malik is yet another fast bowler with a promising future ahead. He packs serious pace and can consistently click northwards of the 140 Kmph mark. Malik was briefly associated with the senior cricket team but had failed to imitate his IPL exploits.

Malik has so far played 3 T20Is for India and has a staggering average of 56, which is a metric that determines the number of runs conceded by a bowler per wicket taken. His bowling economy, too, has been horrendous, giving just above 12 runs per over. Cricket experts reckon he still has a lot to learn and is in work in progress, which is why the BCCI continues to place its bets on him and has included him in India A squad.

Tunku Varadarajan
Umran Malik’s bowling figures (Source: Cricbuzz)

As far as Mohsin Khan goes, the bowler from Lucknow Super Giants who took everyone by surprise in last year’s IPL, he is still very young and inexperienced to be a part of the team that is expected to overcome their nerves in crunch situations in the upcoming world cup.

In short, the above-mentioned bowlers are not a part of India’s world cup campaign because they don’t deserve to be a part of it, and not because they are Muslims. The Indian cricket and BCCI are driven by meritocracy, where cricketers have to prove their worth through consistently performing in domestic circuits, IPL, and other such tournaments.

The Indian team for the world cup has Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, R Ashwin, Deepak Chahar, and Mohd Shami as bowlers—a healthy mix of experienced and young players—but importantly, all of whom have proved their mettle on more occasions than one and have statistics to claim their position in the Indian side. 

However, facts and figures are the last things that Tunku is concerned with, given his divisive agenda to fuel hatred and paint gloom under the Narendra Modi-led BJP government in India. Cricket was just another avenue where Tunku Varadarajan could employ his pathological hatred for the Modi government to insinuate that, under his leadership, Muslim cricketers face discrimination.

Tunku’s brother, Siddharth Varadarajan, too, had tried to push such conspiracy theories of casteist and religious discrimination in Indian cricket. In 2018, The Wire published an article that argued if India needs a caste-based quota in cricket. The report was roundly criticised by many, including cricketer Mohammad Kaif, who slammed the far-left organisation for its divisive journalism.

Cricket is among the few unifiers in the country that has broken caste and religious barriers and has united people regardless of their caste, religion, and creed. It has prized merit above everything else, providing opportunities to players based on their sheer talent, with no regard to their faith, caste, or social stature.

Be it Nawab Pataudi in the 70s, Syed Kirmani in the 80s, or Zaheer Khan and Mohd Kaif in the 2000s, Indian Cricket has consistently churned out several Muslim cricketers, not because they were Muslims but because they possessed talent and skill to represent the country at the highest level of cricket.

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Searched termsTunku Varadarajan
Jinit Jain
Jinit Jain
Writer. Learner. Cricket Enthusiast.

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