Explaining his obscene gesture directed at the crowd during the Asia Cup match between India and Nepal, former India opener and incumbent BJP MP Gautam Gambhir said he was merely reacting to “anti-India chants” from some fans in the crowd, India Today reported on Tuesday.
The report quoted Gambhir saying that “he is not someone who will keep quiet after hearing such comments”, urging cricket fans to keep politics away from sports.
It added that the former Indian batsman had landed in a controversy when a video of him showing the middle finger to the crowd went viral.
“In the video, chants of ‘Kohli, Kohli’ were heard when Gambhir was walking back to the broadcasting area from the ground in Pallekele,” the report said, highlighting that Gambhir was of the view that everything was not shown on social media, alleging he heard anti-India chants from the crowd.
“Whatever is shown on social media, there is no truth to it. People show what they want to show on social media. What actually happened was there were anti-India slogans being chanted, I heard chants of ‘Hindustan Murdabad’. There were slogans about Kashmir also,” the report quoted Gambhir speaking to the media yesterday.
“So there will obviously be a reaction, one way or the other, or laugh at it. There were a couple of Pakistani people… they were shouting anti-India stuff. Obviously, it was a natural reaction. I can’t hear things being said about my country”.
The report said Gambhir explained his stance when he was back from commentary during India’s second match against Nepal.
“That’s why that reaction came out. If you talk bad about the country, what do expect me to do? Should I smile and go away or keep quiet? I am not that kind of a person,” the report quoted him saying.
“I just want to say this, When you have come to watch a match, support your team. There’s no need to give political reactions there. There is no need to bring up Kashmir there. There is no need to speak ill about India. You support your team and your country. There was an Indian crowd also, they were supporting their team.
“I am telling this to both sets of fans, when you come to watch a match, support your teams. No need to talk about the country and Kashmir. Social media doesn’t capture everything.”
However, contrary to Gambhir’s claims, some Indian fans pointed out that only “Kohli, Kohli” could be heard from the crowd chanting slogans, and highlighted that it could come from his past public clashes with Kohli.
Taking a jibe at Gambhir, an X user commented on the video saying, “Next time everyone should chant Dhoni’s name. He will go berserk.”
One more user questioned the BJP MP’s hate for former colleague Kohli.
An Indian journalist said Gambhir’s gesture was in bad taste as she questioned his sportsmanship.
This is not the first time that the former Indian batsman was infuriated after hearing chants of “Kohli, Kohli” from the crowd. A similar incident took place during an Indian Premier League match earlier this year in which Gambhir can be seen pausing to look at someone during the chants.
Gambhir and Kohli have clashed in the past, most recently this year. Both Gambhir and Kohli were fined in the IPL after a post-match argument with Gambhir in Lucknow.
The former national team-mates were also involved in an ugly on-field exchange in a 2013 IPL match.
Source : DAWN