From Tendulkar insults to ‘Donkey Gate’: The abuse from some India fans this summer
As an England fan, I have naturally been thrilled by the results of the Test series against India this summer, and judging by the T20 game and the two subsequent One Day games, there is going to be more to celebrate by the end of this series as well.
Nevertheless, my enjoyment of watching England play so well as been tainted somewhat by the minority of fanatical India fans who have treated a few sports broadcasters with the utmost contempt for even considering mentioning something negative about their side.
First, there was Jonathan Liew’s very funny article on Sachin Tendulkar. To most people, it was clearly tongue-in-cheek. But for some reason, a few Indian fans really didn’t understand Liew’s very obvious humour. Instead of assuming that a Telegraph journalist such as Liew must know that Tendulkar couldn’t possibly ever play in the Ashes, and that the only Test match has ever been played at the Rose Bowl was against Sri Lanka this year, and so Tendulkar could never have scored a century there, a few Indian fans turned to vile, blatant racism to protect their hero.
One commenter, said this:
The most ill-researched blog I ever read in my life. Although I am neither a great fan of Tendulkar nor of Cricket, but the title attracted me to read this blog..The myths of Jonathan are busted as follows
1. There are more than 150 excellent cricket grounds in the world, since Tendulkar has 99 centureis only… how can he play on all the grounds. Only 44 in the tests…
2. Sachin has test centuries against all test playing nations, you fool. You cannot even count to the numbers which Sachin has scored playing…you idiot.
3. Ashes is played between Austalria and England, and (un)fortunately Sachin is not the citizen of these countries.
4. Sachin is 5 feet 5 inches….
5. You might be the ‘broker’ that’s why you know all the details …you bookie…
The man in question carried an Indian flag in his picture alongside the comment, showing clearly where his loyalties lay.
During the fiasco, Liew posted numerous quotes on his Twitter page, reciting some terribly racist comments intermingled with some very funny replies to what should have been a harmless, satirical article. Indeed, the whole matter ended up on Indian television. Crazy.
This summer though, Michael Vaughan has also made the situation worse. I have followed him on Twitter, but I have found him, on occasion, to not be very sensible when dealing with abuse. Like many commentators this summer, he has recieved a lot of crazy comments from India fans, but instead of ignoring them, he has decided to re-tweet them and reply. Yesterday, he wrote this, only intensifying the situation:
Anyone got any good jokes?? And don’t say the Indian Cricket team.. Ha ha.
Michael Vaughan then posted a few replied, ranging from ‘f*** off’ to the England team’s nationalities being a joke. The problem with Vaughan’s supposedly ‘jokey’ initial tweet was that he’d already been baiting some Indian supporters, by posting their insults and suggesting the Indian team were using Vaseline on their bats to prevent nicks showing up on HotSpot (it was later shown that Vaseline made no difference to HotSpot technology).
Some Indian supporters have made life very difficult for commentators this summer, and some of England’s best loved writers and presenters have had to deal with a lot of abuse on Twitter. Jonathan Agnew, particularly, has had a torrid time and has spoken outwardly about how difficult it can be to deal with these horrible comments.
The most recent debacle involved a simple comment from Sky commentator Nasser Hussain. While commentating, he said:
“I would say the difference between the two sides is the fielding. England is all—round a good fielding side. I do believe that India has few…3 or 4 very good fielders and one or two donkeys in the field still.”
This off-the-cuff remark drew criticism from the BCCI, saying they would take the matter up with the ECB, and outrage from Indian fans. The abuse Nasser has recieved (it is a good job he is not on Twitter) has been horrifying. At the One Day match at the Oval today, one Indian fan held aloft this banner:
To my mind, there is no reason why Nasser should even contemplate resigning over what he has also said was a bit of ‘cricket slang’. It is harmless.
Even considering insulting the Indian team, especially Tendulkar, has been met with a bombardment of insults and abuse, especially over Twitter, from a few Indian supporters. Michael Vaughan has further amplified the situation by mocking the abuse he has received.
I have been very careful to say that it is a minority of Indian fans who have caused problems for pundits this summer. But, they need to start realising that the negative comments are not personal, they are objective opinions based on an overall poor performance from India this summer and not to be taken so seriously.