World Cup Diary: Rohit Sharma’s speeding – a sense of entitlement?

The relationship between uber rich stars, flashy cars and a love for speed have been almost an organic one.

Indian cricket team skipper Rohit Sharma (Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images)
Indian cricket team skipper Rohit Sharma (Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images)

Gautam Bhattacharyya

What is common between Rohit Sharma, India’s cricket captain, Cristiano Ronaldo or NBA star LeBron James? No prizes for guessing, all these sports icons have picked up speeding fines sometime or the other. 

The news of Rohit being handed three traffic tickets for exceeding the speed limits repeatedly on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway – driving his uber expensive Lamborghini Urus – has gone viral on a day when India is scheduled to take on Bangladesh in its fourth World Cup match. Wrong timing, shall we say, so uncharacteristic of the ‘Hitman’ on the pitch.   

The Indian team had a four-day break after their emphatic win over Pakistan in Ahmedabad on Saturday – and Mumbai boy Rohit was en route to Pune to rejoin his teammates ahead of their World Cup match at the MCA Stadium. Police has confirmed the report in Mumbai Mirror that Rohit was driving at staggering speeds, breaching the 200 kmph limit and even reaching up to 215 kmph at certain times. His vehicle has been reprimanded with three online traffic challans. 

Interestingly, the Lamborghini Urus which Rohit was driving, displays a number plate featuring his highest score in one day cricket: 264. The car’s price range is Rs four crore-plus, hardly surprising for passion of fast and expensive cars go hand-in-hand with most of the multi-millionaire cricketers in India – be it a Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli or Rohit. 

Zee News report says that the captain initially travelled from Ahmedabad to Mumbai via a Pavan Hans helicopter and after spending two days with the family, he chose to drive down from Mumbai to Pune – a distance of 94.5 kilometres. There is clearly a sense of entitlement for Indian cricketers at that stratosphere – with Kohli being flown by a private jet from the West Indies to India earlier this year – but then, each to his own. 

The offensive part, however, is that speeding is but a crime under Section 279 of Indian Penal Code (IPC), but cases of ‘negligent driving’ can at best invite a pittance as a fine and demerit points. It’s not a question of moral high ground here, but the India captain will do well to remember that the likes of him are some of the biggest influencers.  

 The tragic road accident of Rishabh Pant on 30 December 2022 is still vivid in memory. The wicketkeeper-batter, according to media reports, had dozed off when his Mercedes AMG GLE 43 Coupe rammed into a road divider as he was driving overnight from Delhi to his home in Roorkee. 

One remembers a word of avuncular advice from Kapil Dev on that occasion: ‘’You can easily afford a driver, don’t have to drive it alone.’’ Pant had learnt his lesson the hard way! 

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