“I am pained when they do not get or are given the respect that they so richly deserve .. I am pained when baseless accusations are levelled against our boys and girls .. they do not need or deserve that .. they need to know that the will and the prayers of a billion people of the nation is with them ..” (DAY - 3071(!))
Sir, it is, indeed, very painful, and it was most painful when furious Indian cricket fans crossed all boundaries of misbehavior by storming the home of national wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to protest a five-wicket rout by Bangladesh in their opening World Cup match. Some 200 fans brought down walls and pillars of Dhoni's house, which was under construction, in the eastern city of Ranchi to protest the 26-year-old player's performance in India's shocking defeat in Port of Spain, Trinidad. India were all out for 191, with Dhoni returning to the pavilion without scoring in India's match, a shock to the cricket-mad country of 1.2 billion people.
"Dhoni die, die," protesters chanted, burning effigies of the long-maned player, who had scored 1,958 runs in 68 one-day international matches and was counted among India's most aggressive batsmen. State authorities had to deploy paramilitary units at the nearby home of the under-fire player's family to prevent possible attacks - what a shame!
Similar protests were reported from Ahmedabad, where irate fans were out on the streets after India's humiliating defeat. They burned effigies of Indian captain Rahul Dravid and screamed slogans against out-of-form batsman Virender Sehwag, who scored just two runs before being bowled out. Protests were also reported in the eastern city of Kolkata. The Indian team had lost just one match and everyone who considered it the favourite to win the World Cup had started criticising it. If we do not support our team during a crisis, who else will? Ransacking homes, burning effigies and staging ugly demonstrations clearly show that we do not have the equanimity to treat victory and defeat in the same way. Every Indian must feel ashamed of not the defeat but of our reaction in Ranchi, Kanpur, Allahabad, Patna, Varanasi and Indore. Bangladesh defeated Australia and Pakistan at different times. It only goes to prove the glorious uncertainty of the game. I don't think Australians went about burning the effigies of their players.
Don’t sports fans, especially cricket fans, go too far? Shouting maniacally at the TV. Weeping in the stands. Smashing windows. Aren’t we taking sports a bit too seriously? Making game venues and the cities in which they are played look like a war zone. Angry mobs running through the streets hurling rocks and smashing storefronts. Police in riot gear firing rubber bullets and even shooting tear gas into the crowd. Terrified parents clutching their children and running for safety. The strangest part? The violence has nothing to do with war or politics. It isn’t a protest against a terrible injustice. It is all about—wait for it—a game, cricket, particularly, when played between India and Pakistan. In yet another predictable cricket showdown, Pakistan lost to traditional rivals India at the World T20 in Kolkata. Pakistan came to Eden Gardens with the hope of smashing their world cup jinx against India, but the only thing that broke was people’s television sets. The cricket-mad neighbours, who have gone to war three times since independence, share one of the world’s fiercest sporting rivalries and their rare showdowns on the pitch can bring both to a standstill. It was no surprise then that disappointed Pakistani fans let out their anger by smashing their television sets.
From broken hearts to broken TVs, here’s how Twitter reacted to the match.
India vs Pakistan match anytime, takes me back to 1950s and 60s when all other work in the country would stop to make people free to glue to their transistors, at home, at work and bazaars, listening to running commentary. TV had not come to the country yet. I was also one of them who would not want to be off commentary even for a moment, but then something serious was noticed in my system which drastically changed my situation and I was advised by my family to remain as far away as I could from the running commentary of cricket game, particularly when played against Pakistan. I was so sensitive to our team giving indication of losing the match that my heart would start sinking with every wicket our team would lose. My heart was too weak to take our team’s defeat or even any indication of its possibility. That was in the 60s when we were playing against Pakistan, since then I have tried my best to be away from live telecast of any cricket match Team India played against any country, especially Pakistan
Sir, I should have begun with it, but now concluding with heartiest congratulations on spending some special time with Saina, nation’s darling for being the world badminton champion and bringing glory to the country with her game. A million thanks for sharing the moments with us. It is, indeed, very great of her to have gone to Rio 2016, in spite of her injury - ‘the will and the prayers of a billion people of the nation are with her always’ - and to her critics, I can only repeat what we have been telling such people for ages:
“Girte hain shahsawar hi maidan e jung mein
woh kya girenge jo ghutno ke bal chale !”
With regards and best wishes