During the 2023 Asia Cup, former India opener Gautam Gambhir, serving as a commentator, found himself in controversy when he gestured with his middle finger towards the crowd during the India-Pakistan match on Saturday.
A video of this incident quickly went viral on social media, where the crowd can be heard chanting either “Kohli” or “Dhoni” as an agitated Gambhir was making his way back from the field during the rain break.
Gambhir showing the middle finger to people shouting Kohli..Kohli???— Kapil (@kapsology) September 4, 2023
Why this hate?pic.twitter.com/oeuJnkIHf7
It's worth noting that Gambhir has a history of strained relationships with both MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, and he even had a go with the latter during this year's IPL.
Over the past decade, the feud between Gambhir and the two cricketing icons has grown increasingly bitter. Gambhir has faced allegations of harbouring jealousy towards his fellow state-mate, Kohli, due to the latter's meteoric rise in the cricketing world.
Furthermore, Gautam Gambhir has not shied away from expressing his opinions regarding what he perceives as excessive media praise for Dhoni's iconic six that contributed to India's World Cup victory in 2011.
In that match, Gambhir played a pivotal role, scoring a crucial 97 in a challenging run chase of 275. However, he did not receive the Player of the Match award, which instead went to Dhoni for his unbeaten 91.
Gambhir has voiced his belief that the credit for the victory has been disproportionately attributed to captain Dhoni, while the contributions of the other players have been overshadowed.
Gautam Gambhir gives statement on middle-finger episode
Regarding the incident at the Asia Cup, Gautam Gambhir, as he addressed the viral video, claimed that he responded with the middle finger not to the “Dhoni Dhoni” or “Kohli Kohli” chants but in reaction to anti-India slogans from Pakistani fans.
He clarified his stance during an interaction with reporters on the sidelines of the India-Nepal game, emphasizing that what was circulating on social media may not accurately represent the complete truth.
“People can show whatever they want on social media. The truth about the viral video is that if you chant anti-India slogans or if you say Hindustan Murdabad (death to India) or if you talk about Kashmir, then this is how anyone will react,” he said.
“They won’t walk away smiling. There were a couple of Pakistani fans there who were chanting anti-India slogans and saying Hindustan Murdabad.”
Are the crowd chants fake?
This are two different clips with same chant of Kohli— Ｍｒ.ＤＲＡＸＸ 🎩 (@Draxx_007) September 4, 2023
Some fatherless Pakistani replace the real audio from the original clip where they (pakistani) chanting anti-india slogan and passing comments on Kashmir.Don't trust everything on social media
WE ARE WITH YOU @GautamGambhir pic.twitter.com/tSIowSg9xf
It becomes clear that in the initial video where Gautam Gambhir is showing a section of the crowd his middle finger, the taunts of “Dhoni” and “Kohli” are edited. The chants were by supporters during an IPL game this year and are not the same screams directed at Gambhir in Sri Lanka.
Anti-India chants, if Gambhir is to be believed, have been edited out, making it appear that the cricketer is responding to screams about his fellow players.