World Cup Diary: When Virender Sehwag turns troll

Sehwag's post could be a reaction to comments made by Pakistan ex-cricketer Hasan Raza who alleged that Indian pacemen are using different balls in this World Cup, to explain their success

Netizens have criticised former India cricketer Virender Sehwag's remarks against Pakistan as tasteless (photo: Getty Images)
Netizens have criticised former India cricketer Virender Sehwag's remarks against Pakistan as tasteless (photo: Getty Images)

Gautam Bhattacharyya

It seems some former sporting heroes can go to any lengths to gain traction on social media — the latest being former cricketer Virender Sehwag, whose potshots at the Pakistan cricket team, which faced an improbable equation in their last league game against England on Saturday if they were to make the knockout stage of the ongoing 50-over World Cup, has not gone down well with netizens at all. 

Taking a dig at Pakistan’s campaign, Sehwag wrote on his widely followed Instagram page: "’Pakistan Zindabhaag! Bas yahin tak tha jo tha (whatever it was ends here). Hope you enjoyed the biryani and the hospitality. Have a safe flight back home. Bye Bye Pakistan! #cwc23’’. He also shared a banner that read ‘Bye Bye Pakistan’. 

The post was certainly in poor taste, though some may be inclined to rake up the strange remarks of Hasan Raza, a now forgotten Pakistan Test cricketer who alleged during an appearance on a Pakistani television channel that the Indian pacemen — who are breathing fire in this tournament — may be using a different set of balls to derive their prodigious movement.

It was an allegation which was promptly shot down by Pakistan cricket legend Wasim Akram on TV, while senior Indian pacer Mohammed Shami also reacted strongly to the wild accusation, asking Raza "to have some shame". 

But Sehwag’s comments amount to trolling rather than banter, which prompted some strong reactions from netizens. ‘’Sad post, this does not reflect every Indian's perspective,’’ an Instagram user wrote. 

‘’Dear sehwag, if you are a TRUE SPORTS MAN, u would never post this... SHAME ON U....,’’ another wrote. A third added, "This is not professional at all and not expected from you, this will create unnecessary hatred." 

Sehwag also took a dig at Sri Lanka, saying: "Pakistan ki khaas baat hai ki jis team ko Pakistan support karti hai, woh team Pakistan ki tarah khelne lagti hai (one special thing about Pakistan is that whichever team they support, that side begins to play like them). Sorry Sri Lanka." 

The Pakistan cricketers may not have had a particularly memorable campaign, but are likely to carry back some pleasant memories ever since they set foot in Hyderabad in the first week of October. ‘’Bahut pyaar mila,’’ (got a lot of love) was how captain Babar Azam summed up what was his first tour of India. Despite making his international debut back in 2015, Azam failed to make it here during the 2016 T20 World Cup owing to an injury. 

Time up for Pakistan journalists 

The handful of Pakistan media members who reached India after their team’s first two games owing to am inordinate delay in receiving visas, will have to leave India soon after their last match on Saturday. This effectively means that they will be deprived of covering the two semi-finals and final as Pakistan will not feature in them. 

‘’There was a clause in our visa that we would have to leave India as soon as the team’s campaign was over,’’ a senior member of the media contingent said.

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