05:29 GMT +323 October 2019
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    Former Indian cricketer and newly elected member of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Gautam Gambhir arrives to attend the opening day of the Parliament session in New Delhi, India, June 17, 2019

    Cricketer Turned Politician Commenting on India-Pak Match, Amuses Netizens

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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Gautam Gambhir, an Indian cricketer who was recently elected a member of parliament for the first time, has been a vocal critic of Pakistan. The former member of India’s victorious 2011 Cricket World Cup team had earlier said Indians shouldn’t mind boycotting the match with Pakistan in the World Cup.

    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.

    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.

    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”.

    However, Gambhir found support from some of his fans who shot back the trolls, saying that he was only fulfilling his professional commitments.

    Intriguingly, Gambhir also found support from a Pakistani fan.

    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.


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