Following Team India’s loss to Australia in the 2023 World Cup final, viral images of the dressing room sparked widespread discussion. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence to console the players, including senior players Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, was a notable aspect of these pictures. However, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s comment referring to the Prime Minister as “Panauti” during an election rally stirred controversy. Recently, former opener Gautam Gambhir has expressed his candid opinion on this matter, addressing the issue after a significant period.
Gautam Gambhir deems the comment unwarranted, drawing a parallel to the 2011 World Cup semi-final. In that instance, Dr. Manmohan Singh, the then Prime Minister, attended to witness India facing Pakistan in Mohali.
What Gautam Gambhir said?
Gautam Gambhir criticised the use of the term ‘panauti,’ considering it highly inappropriate. Especially when referring to the Prime Minister of the country. In an interview with ANI, he highlighted the example of the 2011 Cricket World Cup semi-final. Questioning the negativity associated with a Prime Minister offering support in case of a defeat.
“The word that was used, ‘panauti’, it is probably the worst word that could’ve been used against anyone. Particularly a prime minister of this country. In the 2011 Cricket World Cup semi-final, Dr. Manmohan Singh was there. Had we lost that match and he had come to meet us, what would’ve been wrong in that?,” said Gambhir in an interview with ANI.
EP-120 with Gautam Gambhir premieres on Saturday at 5 PM IST
— ANI (@ANI) December 8, 2023
Rahul Gandhi criticised PM Modi
During an election rally in Rajasthan, Rahul Gandhi remarked, “He comes on TV and says ‘Hindu-Muslim’ and sometimes goes to a cricket match… Our boys would have won the World Cup but the panauti (bad omen) lost us the match,” in Hindi. These comments sparked widespread criticism, with senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad. Denouncing them as “shameful, condemnable, and disgraceful.” Union Minister Rajeev Chandrashekar also criticised Gandhi. Characterising the remarks as indicators of desperation and mental instability.
Gautam Gambhir open ups on Naveen-ul-haq controversy
Gautam Gambhir addressed the altercation between Virat Kohli and Naveen-ul-Haq during the LSG vs RCB game in IPL 2023 in Lucknow. In his capacity as the LSG mentor, Gambhir asserted his commitment to supporting his franchise’s players against any adversary. He emphasised that while he refrained from interference during the game, he believed that post-game, he had every right to defend his players if they were involved in heated arguments.