While there’s hardly any field that Twitter doesn’t singe and create controversy, this year was a particular bad year for social media and cricket. A high number of controversies were generated and cricketers were left fuming at the chain of events.
A look at some of them…
Kohli-Anushka: Runs, runs, runs and still tonnes of brickbats!
While cricketers like Rohit Sharma, Sir Ravindra Jadeja and Ishant Sharma have been the butt of Twitter jokes for their on-field performances, one struggles to think the last time Virat Kohli was in really bad form. Feels like another era. But he still has been facing the brunt of it thanks to his relationship with Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma. A long time back when he faced a period of bad form, instead of attacking him, some wise aleck blamed Anushka and it trended.
While it was in bad taste, social media would repeat the process whenever Kohli was in bad form and lately when he has been in sensational form the Anushka jokes would be out even in a rare Kohli cheap dismissal!
Kohli had had enough and Tweeted a graphic with the word “Shame” with the following…
That got a good hundred thousand-plus likes.
The year ended with the media gossip columns driving themselves into frenzy over the imminent engagement of Kohli and Anushka and this time Kohli cheekily Tweeted…
" we aren't getting engaged & if we were going to,we wouldn't hide it. Simple... (1/2)— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) December 30, 2016
(2/2)Since news channels cant resist selling false rumours & keeping you confused, we are just ending the confusion :)— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) December 30, 2016
Whatever happened to Harsha Bhogle?
In a last-over finish in a T20 match versus Bangladesh in the World Cup, India secured a thrilling and nail-biting win. While all the Indian fans celebrated the event, one fan had a grouse.
Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan Tweeted…
T 2184 - With all due respects, it would be really worthy of an Indian commentator to speak more about our players than others all the time.— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) March 23, 2016
And then he personally responded to Tweeple who responded to that. Sample some of them…
@raj20k yes !! jab dekho unki tareef karte rehte hain .. out unka batsman, aur uske liye dukh vyakt kar rahe hain .. arre .. hamari bowling— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) March 23, 2016
@gauravchawla cool .. but I mean its the limit yaar .. the way our players and our team always gets the wrong end .. this is just not on ..— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) March 23, 2016
@vmittra not just lack lustre .. simply biased .. always speaking and praising opposition .. !!— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) March 23, 2016
When captain MS Dhoni Tweeted… Nothing to add
Nothing to add https://t.co/8rBel3vw4o— Mahendra Singh Dhoni (@msdhoni) March 23, 2016
…that seemed to end the argument that there was indeed something gravely wrong. While no names were taken, all the fingers were pointed at Harsha Bhogle and some of the following Tweets were presented as evidence…
Bangladesh have used the conditions beautifully. Have to say they are ahead at this stage.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) March 23, 2016
I said it on air and I'll say it again. This is the best group of players I have seen from Bangladesh.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) March 23, 2016
A perplexed Bhogle was surprised at the fuss and finally defended himself in a long Facebook post…
But the damage seemed to have been done. Bhogle found his contract terminated for the IPL immediately after that and was missing from subsequent international matches too.
When Dhoni fans got upset with Ashwin
Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been in the form of his life and 2016 was absolutely brilliant for him. The crowning achievement for him was being declared ICC Cricketer of the Year.
While that would have seemed harmless to the average reader, fans of MS Dhoni were upset that his name wasn’t taken. “How could Ashwin be so ungrateful to Dhoni?” they wondered.
While Ashwin tried not to respond, he had to when his wife was mentioned by one of the fans…
While Ashwin did mention Dhoni’s name in his thank you speech, he didn’t exactly seem to be thanking him as this clip show…
When a Bangladeshi fan posted a really disgusting image
The Bhogle controversy wasn’t the only one that raged on in social media during that period.
Before the T20 World Cup we had the T20 Asia Cup and during that time some bright aleck fan posted a photoshopped photo of Bangladeshi fast bowler Taskin Ahmed with Dhoni’s severed head.
India and Dhoni had the last laugh and the Indian fans went wild on Twitter…
Photoshop 0 - Dhoni 1#AsiaCupT20Final— Gaurav Sethi (@BoredCricket) March 6, 2016
Match summary : Never MS with Dhoni.— Swagshank (@zZoker) March 6, 2016
The Master Blaster of Twitter Knights rises…
One person who is never at the receiving end whether it’s on the field or off it is Virender
Sehwag. Though he entered the Twitterverse way back in he entered the slog overs in 2016.
Most memorable is his back and forth with TV host Piers Morgan during the Olympics…
Country with 1.2 billion people wildly celebrates 2 losing medals. How embarrassing is that?
We cherish every small happiness', But Eng who invented Cricket,&yet2win a WC,still continue to playWC.Embarrassing?
Country with 1.2 billion people wildly celebrates 2 losing medals. How embarrassing is that? https://t.co/FYSBM7ErAf— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) August 24, 2016
We cherish every small happiness',— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) August 24, 2016
But Eng who invented Cricket,&yet2win a WC,still continue to playWC.Embarrassing? https://t.co/0mzP4Ro8H9
Hi @virendersehwag, I bet you 1 million rupees to charity that England wins a ODI World Cup before India wins another Olympic Gold. Accept?— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) August 30, 2016
We soon won Gold at the Rio Paralympics and Sehwag fans went after Morgan.
When Morgan corrected a Sehwag typo...
Mate, we invented Darts & Curling but I wouldn't boast about being 'World Champions' at them. https://t.co/4PIlEKubpD— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) October 22, 2016
Sehwag also knows how to troll his fellow players…
With that he posted a video of him hitting him for a six to get a Test triple century at the historic Multan match where we won a Test on Pakistan soil for the first time and went on to win the series!
When Shami clean bowled his trolls
Indian fast bowler Mohammed Shami posted some delightful photos of his family and he got trolled because his wife was wearing a gown! While the disgusting comments came one after another, Shami showed that he can bowl Yorkers both on and off the field with this Facebook post…
Kaif trolled at the death (of 2016)…
While the last day of the year is spent for celebrations, the trolls continued till the very end.
Former India batsman Mohammed Kaif posted photos of him doing Surya Namaskar on Twitter…
He was criticized by a certain sections of Muslims and here’s one such sample…
Sabse Bada Rog, Kya Kahenge Log ! https://t.co/ouRrrWo2B1— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) December 31, 2016
You could well call 2016 the year when Indian cricketers got it really bad, but gave it back even worse to their critics!
The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here