Virat Kohli
Indian captain Virat Kohli. Image Credit: AFP

Indian skipper Virat Kohli has been at the receiving end of huge social media backlash after telling a fan to leave the country if he did not like to watch Indian cricketers in action. This could well be considered as an instance of a cricketer’s inability to accept public opinion. However successful a player may be, he must accept the fact that it will not be only praise for him or his team all the time.

All ardent fans will have opinions and are bound to express them; in fact, many may consider themselves as experts in cricket. Only when a sport is debated will its popularity get enhanced. Kohli has time and again reacted strongly to uncomfortable questions and comments. He is the world’s finest cricketer today due to his tremendous form. Cricket being known as a gentleman’s game demands elegant behaviour from a player, too. But today, the number of people who consider him arrogant is on the rise.

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Fans have always enjoyed his aggressiveness on the field as a batsman, but his behaviour off the field requires some smoothing. He is not just a cricketer who represents the country but India’s captain too, and hence needs to play the role of an ambassador of a nation.

For Kohli to react in such a manner and comment about an ordinary fan speaks poorly of his intellect beyond what he does on the cricket field. After India lost the second Test to South Africa at Centurion in January 2018, when asked if it was his best XI, he snapped back at the reporter. Many journalists then felt that he needed a crash course in anger management.

There are numerous instances of cricketers who skyrocket to glory but have little control over themselves as people. Batting or bowling skills can be acquired through hours of practice, but to be conscious of one’s reaction to criticism or varied opinions after turning celebrity sometimes requires proper guidance.

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Most celebrities lose touch of how a common fan may react since they get used to receiving praise all the time for their on-field deeds. They forget the fact that fans approach them because they adore them, and it is disappointing for the fan when he is treated like a nuisance. There have been occasions when fans meet their idol with great respect, but then regret ever meeting him in person.

Often cricketers who have behave in such a manner find themselves with fewer supporters when their performance dips. A smile or a wave is all that a fan would expect from their hero. There shouldn’t be a day when fans comment that some cricketers are best watched on the field but ignored off it.