Virat Kohli’s recent comments about asking a cricket enthusiast to ‘leave India’ has apparently not gone down too well with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
The Indian captain, who has been rested for the ongoing T20I series against the Windies, embroiled himself in fresh controversy after a video of him went viral on social media. It shows Kohli saying that “those who prefer watching England and Australian batsmen should not live in India.”
The video is available on Kohli’s recently-launched official app; it shows him expressing his disapproval after a fan called him an ‘over-rated batsman’ and that he prefers watching English and Australian batsmen instead.
After reading the message out loud, Kohli replied, “Ok, I don’t think you should live in India then… you should go and live somewhere else, no? Why are you living in our country and loving other countries? I don’t mind you not liking me, but I don’t think you should live in our country and like other things. Get your priorities right.”
Kohli’s comments have drawn an adverse reaction from the BCCI officials, as per a report in the Times of India.
“We, at the BCCI value our cricket fans and respect them and their choices. I loved to watch Sunil Gavaskar bat, but also loved watching (Gordon) Greenidge, (Desmond) Haynes and Viv Richards. I loved watching Sachin, Viru (Virender Sehwag), Sourav (Ganguly), VVS (Laxman), Rahul (Dravid) bat but also loved Mark Waugh, Brian Lara and so many others. Shane Warne for me has been the most exciting spinner to watch, but one felt the most thrill when Anil (Kumble) was bowling. Kapil Dev on song was a delight to watch as were (Richard) Hadlee, (Ian) Botham and Imran (Khan),” BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary said.
“I think this has to do with respecting cricketing excellence without any thoughts about geographical or political boundaries,” he added.
Also, an undisclosed BCCI official said, “Virat needs to understand that if the fans go away to other countries, then no Puma etc. will want to sign him for ₹100 crores. The BCCI’s revenue will fall, and consequently the players’ fees. If he checks his contract, he may find that he may have violated his contract with this statement. Just like he violated BCCI’s contract with Nike when traveling to England to support Puma. He should walk the talk and support the BCCI’s partners rather than focusing on private endorsements. He is a great player and it’s time to try and be a great human being.”
Kohli last played in the five-match ODI series against the Windies where he scored three consecutive centuries and also became the fastest batsman to complete 10,000 ODI runs.