An ugly sideplot has emerged in the wake of India’s stunning loss to Australia, with fans unfairly criticising Virat Kohli’s wife Anushka Sharma for being a distraction.
Kohli will miss the remainder of the three-Test series to be with his wife in India for the birth of their first child.
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But India’s spectacular battling collapse on day three of the first Test, in which none of the Indian batsmen scored in double figures, prompted Sharma’s name to trend on social media - which sparked backlash among media commentators.
Many Indian media outlets were quick to suggest any criticism of Sharma was unfair after one-eyed fans looks for excuses in the wake of the historic loss.
Indian outlet National Herald described fans seeking to blame Sharma as ‘sulking’.
“Sulking Indian fans once again started blaming Bollywood actor and Captain Kohli’s wife Anushka Sharma for the poor performance of Team India,” they wrote.
“It was worse and more insensitive than before because this time the actor’s pregnancy was highlighted and blamed on social media by the frustrated netizens.”
The National Herald wasn’t the only prominent media outlet to condemn such criticism of Sharma, with the Times of India publishing a video of their own taking aim at fans’ poor behaviour.
Their video said “it was Anushka Sharma who faced unnecessary bashing on social media over the dismal performance of the men in blue”.
There was also plenty of frustration on social media.
Absolutely disgusting that #Anushka trends on twitter after every India defeat. Grow up you bunch of man babies. Get a life.
— Rahul Puri (@rahulpuri) December 19, 2020
Side note: I sincerely hope the usual suspects don't drag Kohli's family into this cricket mess.
To go on paternity leave in the middle of an important tour is a PERSONAL & PERMITTED decision. Please don't bring his wife in it, her name is already trending for the wrong reasons!
— ZENIA D'CUNHA (@ZENIADCUNHA) December 19, 2020
Why is @AnushkaSharma being blamed every time for Virat Kohli’s performance? This says something deeper about sexism which exists in our society. It's obscene that women are the easiest target in any situation. https://t.co/7XNNw5w2yr
— Nishtha Satyam (@SatyamNishtha) December 19, 2020
Australia pull off stunning Test comeback against India
Australia stunned themselves with the ease in which they sealed an eight-wicket win at Adelaide Oval, where Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood's spellbinding spells skittled a shellshocked India for their lowest Test total in history.
Tim Paine's team secured a 1-0 series lead before the dinner break on day three of the pink-ball Test, hauling in a target of 90.
The tourists were out for 36 in their second innings after Mohammed Shami retired hurt, having been struck on his exposed right arm by a brute of a ball from Cummins.
New-look opening pair Joe Burns (51 not out) and Matthew Wade (33) shared a 70-run stand as Australia needed just 21 overs to complete an incredible victory.
Shami was rushed off for scans as captain Virat Kohli prepared to fly out for the birth of his first child.
The visitors resumed at 1-9 on Saturday, leading by 62 runs.
Cummins (4-21) and Hazlewood (5-8) created unmitigated chaos in the ensuing 90 minutes, during which no batsman reached double figures.
"A bit stunned," Hazlewood said.
"I've been in their shoes before in different series.
"Getting bowled out for 36 is going to leave a few headaches.
"Their best batter leaving is going to leave a bit of a hole.
"But they've got plenty of class batters on the sidelines."
Kohli struggled to describe his embarrassment, noting "this is not club-level cricket".
"Literally an hour, you put yourself in a position where it's impossible to win," he said.
"It really hurts."
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