Cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir has amused the twitterati by commentating on Sunday’s India-Pakistan Cricket World Cup Clash after initially calling for India to boycott (and thereby forfeit) the match.
After a deadly suicide bomb attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e Mohammad on a convoy of Indian security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February, Gambhir had reportedly called for India to forfeit their World Cup clash against Pakistan.
Gambhir recently posted a promotional video of the much-hyped encounter before the match commenced and later tweeted a congratulatory message for the Indian cricket team after they defeated Pakistan by 89 runs.
Here comes the biggest battle we all look out for. Play 'Star Contest' with me for #INDvsPAK match on @CricPlay. Let's see if you can score more than me, follow the @CricPlay page, download the App & create your team now! #CricPlay #FantasyCricket #StarContest #AbIndiaKhelega pic.twitter.com/eKRWa8iLYF— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) June 16, 2019
Runs, Rain and total domination.. It’s #7-0 🇮🇳 Jai hind.— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) June 16, 2019
The former cricketer, as part of the match’s commentary panel, analysed the India-Pakistan contest through the course of the match; this did not go down well with many fans.
Some of the outraged fans labeled him a “hypocrite” and a “sellout” that doesn’t stand by his words.
So Gautam Gambhir is doing commentary and making money out of a match he is opposing.— Sumit Kashyap (@sumitkashyapjha) June 16, 2019
BJP MP @GautamGambhir wanted India @BCCI to boycott this match with Pakistan to prove its nationalism.— Gaurav Pandhi गौरव पांधी (@GauravPandhi) June 16, 2019
So why he didn't boycott this match & is instead giving gyan? Because that was before elections and now he is being paid crores to compromise with his 'nationalism' .. #Fraud! pic.twitter.com/rkqXdK1NOe
Gautam Gambhir has the responsibility of -— Gajendra Sharma (@Airavta) June 16, 2019
100 hundreds of colonies
But he chooses to enjoy in London & milk the money.
How is @GautamGambhir contributing to the country as an MP?
In addition to netizens, India’s opposition party Congress also took a dig at the newly elected BJP MP, with Congress’ West Bengal youth unit calling Gambhir a “fake patriot”.
Honourable MP and ex Indian Cricketer Gautam Gambhir after Pulwama attack wanted India to forfeit their match against Pakistan. Now he being an expert at Hotstart post match show.— WB Youth Congress (@IYCWestBengal) June 17, 2019
What is this called? Fake patriotism or pre election propaganda???#NationWantsToKnow pic.twitter.com/AKPbsZOeJj
However, Gambhir found support from some of his fans who shot back the trolls, saying that he was only fulfilling his professional commitments.
This victory is a tribute to Pulwama martyrs.. we have beaten Pakistan.— Sameer (@Sameer59149846) June 17, 2019
For all those who are questioning @GautamGambhir for his comments in February & March this year,later during elections w.r.t Pakistan and his commentary yesterday saying he made money, Gautam clearly said it commitment given long time ago and politics will continue as usual— Sunil Suri (@sunilsurimca) June 17, 2019
He said what ever the govt decides everyone should support it... Watch the full video first.. he clearly said in terms of cricket that either India should play bilaterals and everything with pakistan or nthng.. he said that govt should stop the conditional boycotts— angana sharma (@sharma_angana) June 17, 2019
Intriguingly, Gambhir also found support from a Pakistani fan.
easy to jump on the hate bandwagon but this guy had our best interest in mind when he talked up boycotting today’s match @GautamGambhir love and respect from across the border bhai you tried your best— Amirr (@ammirrr) June 16, 2019
In March, Gambhir called the 14 February Pulawama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir state 'unacceptable' and had urged cricket lovers in the country to be ready if the match against arch-rival Pakistan was forfeited.
“If BCCI decides that India should not play Pakistan they should be mentally ready and country should be too. It can’t be conditional ban, there could be repercussions as well”, the Indian cricketer had said in March. “No media should blame India for not qualifying to the semifinals. The entire media and country should back the team as well,” he had added.
The match was intensely built up due to the recent prevailing tensions between India and Pakistan. Since 2016, India has refused any initiative for bilateral talks, contending that cross-border terror has to stop before talks can begin.
Relations between the two South Asian countries hit a new low in February, when 40 Indian soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir. It led to the Indian Air Force launching an air strike on 26 February in retaliation.
The two nuclear-armed nations reached near a war-like stage when Pakistan reportedly retaliated on the following day and brought down an Indian fighter jet.