Australia's The Daily Telegraph kicked up a storm on social media by anointing Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli "the Donald Trump of world sport."
In a scathing piece last evening, the newspaper accused Kohli of destroying the spirit of the game in the on-going series between India and Australia.
The Daily Telegraph noted, "The Indian captain is a law unto himself with no one – not even the ICC [International Cricket Council] or his own board – holding him accountable for his continual perpetuation of fake news... Just like President Trump, Kohli decided to blame the media as a means of trying to hide the egg smeared right across his face."
"Special players are allowed to have bad series, but Kohli’s great crime is he’s proven that the spirit of cricket is officially dead," it added.
Both teams have played three tests so far. And are tied at 1-1. The decider begins Saturday. But the series has been dominated by trash talk stemming from on-field incidents.
First, there was Aussie spinner Nathan Lyon calling Kohli "the head of the snake," referring obviously to the Indian captain's importance in the team.
When India won the next game putting up a good team show, Kohli responded: “I’m pretty happy if they keep focusing on the head of the snake, and the snake can sting from a lot of directions."
Kohli also alleged that his counterpart Steve Smith was not abiding by the rules of the game. The Indian captain stopped short of calling Smith a cheat referring to an on-field incident. The latter went on to admit that it was a "brain-fade" and he shouldn't have acted in the manner.
Meanwhile, former Aussie wicket-keeper Ian Healy called out Kohli's aggression and said he was "losing respect" for the Indian captain.
Not one to shy away, Kohli brought up Healy's reaction on being given out in a 1997 test match. The latter had thrown his bat in disgust as he walked back to the pavilion.
And now, in the just-concluded third test, Kohli injured a shoulder after which some Aussie cricketers allegedly mocked him. Though television footage later revealed that it might have been an erroneous assumption. But that didn't stop Kohli from giving an animated send-off to Aussie batsman David Warner, which prompted a fan to call him "an arrogant stain on the game."
It also got the Australian cricket media's goat. And The Daily Telegraph ripped Kohli apart.
But Indians are known to revere their cricketers. They did not take the Trump comparisons lightly and hit out at the publication for its "bizarre" and "disgraceful" reportage. The rebuttal was led by Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan who sarcastically thanked the Aussie media for acknowledging Kohli as the "president" of the game.
Disgraceful of Australian media to compare Kohli with Trump. We never compared Smith with Rahul Gandhi despite his self confessed brainfade.
— cricBC (@cricBC) March 21, 2017
Australian media is correct when it compares Virat Kohli with Trump because when Aussies behaved like pussies, Kohli grabbed them.
— Rahul Raj (@bhak_sala) March 22, 2017
Dear Australian media
Try scoring 27 ODI 100's
Try scoring 4 Test 200's
Try scoring most T20I fifties
Then compare Kohli with Trump...
— Sarcastic Dude (@Sarcasticdudee) March 22, 2017
Australian media says
" Virat Kohli has become the Donald Trump of world sport "
I guess they forgot 2008 Sydney Test
— Sarcastic Dude (@Sarcasticdudee) March 21, 2017
I ain't game for jinxing Kohli at all but watch him reply to this "Trump comparison" so very well with his bat. And then words.
— Mystique. (@Cricketician) March 22, 2017
Interestingly, former Australian captain Michael Clarke who's one of the commentators in the current series, has come out in support of Kohli and said that only some reporters are "trying to tarnish" the Indian captain's image.
"Comparing Virat Kohli with Donald Trump - what a load of s*** is that. What Virat did, even Smith would have. Bear in mind, I love Kohli and the Australian public love him. I always somehow find an Australian in him the way he plays and I absolutely love how he accepts challenges. It's just two or three reporters who are trying to tarnish him, but Virat shouldn't be bothered," he reportedly told a local news station.
The final test begins in three days. Stay tuned for some fireworks!