Among the crores of followers who love the game of cricket and its players, I, being one of them have been an avid follower of Indian cricket. I love to watch the men in blue play across all formats. I also constitute the major population who watch the game only when team India plays. We cry with you when you lose and also celebrate every victory like you. You, Mr. Virat Kohli, have scored many runs, broken many records, reached more milestones than anyone possibly could buy your current age. You have been a superstar of Indian cricket and we love to see you play. Oh sorry, but we are just spectators and I’m “someone who hasn’t played for the country” and therefore according to you I have “no right to comment on an international cricketer anyway.”
Your recent comments in a press conference, where you said all the above statements have not been very well received by fans like us. Among the Indian population of over 12 billion, roughly 2% of it would have had the chance to represent the country in International cricket. This also means that only those 2% have the “right to comment on an international cricketer”. I am sorry Mr. Kohli, but that number looks pretty small.
Now, if we go by your version of giving out rights to criticize “international cricketers”, let’s also check what all you “international cricketers” would miss out on if you take away the right to criticize from the rest of the 98% of the Indian population. Only 2% of that population would turn up in huge stadiums built for you “international cricketers” to play in. That would amount to an extreme heavy loss in -monetary terms for your governing board to incur. Directly, that would result in your 7-8 figure paychecks losing sufficient amount of zeroes from the back. That’s just stadium income, think about the money that is paid by the cricketing fans across the country who pay money in lump sums, just to watch you people represent our country. That income could also go down by a wide margin if you take away the right to criticize from the general public.
As far as I can remember, you “international cricketers” have quite an expensive and luxurious lifestyle. The managing board who provides you with all these expensive cheques, they themselves won’t be able to feed their mouths if the 98% of the cricket-loving population opted to leave watching the game just because you took away their right to criticize players.
“International cricketers” in our “negative” country live the life of a celebrity. Their fan-base around the country decides their other modes of income, which usually consist of showing up on camera to pose for a product advertisement. Now, if I’m not wrong, half of your annual earnings constitute of these advertisements. Just think of how your annual income would show on the next issue of Forbes magazine if people couldn’t comment on your performances, ultimately you losing your fanbase and there is a very big uncertainty of whether there would be a page dedicated to you in Forbes’ next edition in the first place!
We have several types of sports being played in our country. Undoubtedly, cricket happens to be one the most followed one. It is, as you may know (courtesy – we have being paying for your fancy clothes, shades and haircut that you possess now), followed by such large extent that other field of sports don’t get their deserved portion of mention in the general public, let one displaying them on equal terms. Some sports athletes who have represented the country in other fields of sports are down to selling vegetables or doing other odd jobs, just because the Indian population chose your sport as their preferred one. They had to sell their hard-earned medals to feed themselves, unlike “international cricketers” of India, where even their food bills are paid by us, Indian supporters whenever they tour anywhere in the world.
In our land, we worship cricketers and a majority has even found their God in one of you. We loved him when he won the match for us and at the same time, we criticized our God for not performing sufficiently. Seeing his past records, he has had his share of downfalls and we criticized him a lot during those times. If you ever get some time apart from appearing on cameras to advertise a product, just ask him once, did he ever complain about it. Over time he understood how it is. He got the point that Indians will criticize him if he does not play well and it’s high time you to understand, considering you have been appointed our Test captains just recently, congratulation by the way.
Indian cricket and its “international cricketers” would not have their fancy lifestyle and 24×7 media attention by their side if, you took away our rights of criticizing our representatives of the game. Talking about rights, don’t you remember, India received independence in 1947? The God of Indian cricket comprehended that point, considering he dropped out after class 10, you on the other hand have received full education and it would be nice if you applied it here also. But still, we may not have the right to comment on big players like you but we do want to enlighten you with the fact that according to our Indian constitution, we all are equal and have the Freedom of Speech and Expression (Article 19, Civics section of your long forgotten history lessons).
You have a large fan-base in India with a considerable amount of people joining that bandwagon. You play very well and represent Indian cricket rightfully. But, as a fan of the game you play, we demand our voices are heard and most importantly, we possess the “right to comment on International cricketers”. Don’t ever forget that you were once among us, even you had criticized players, your bills for fancy clothes and lifestyles are indirectly paid by us and all that media attention that you enjoy is also because we follow you. If we can provide you with the high status, we also possess the “right” to take that luxurious status away from you.
P.S: The article is an open letter and views expressed by the writer are his own