Former India batsman Aakash Chopra has defended Virat Kohli but said he "could have done better" after India captain's "leave India" comment to a cricket fan courted a massive controversy.
Kohli was in the eye of a storm during the launch of his mobile application when he told a fan that he should not be living in India if he cannot like Indian cricketers.
Chopra, however, said he was "surprised" by Kohli's remark.
"I don't think this is what Virat Kohli is or this is what he actually thinks. In the last 18-24 months we have seen a lot of maturity with regard to how he speaks, what he actually portrays in the public domain...in all the post match interviews he's someone who's is not happy to take credit himself. But he's happy to be very, very modest and humble.
"It does surprise me. What he has said is something, yes, disappointing, unacceptable but then freedom of expression allows us to say what we want and I also feel social media at times gets the worst out of us. He was trying to address a mean tweet perhaps he had gone through a multiple mean tweets before reacting or choosing to react to one...he could have done better. When he'll look back at it, I don't think he'll really be proud of what he said," Chopra told India Today.
Kohli launched his mobile app on his 30th birthday on November 5. He read out social media messages and reacted after reading a particular tweet on his app.
"Over-rated batsman and personally I see nothing special in his batting. I enjoy watching English and Australian batsmen more than these Indians," Kohli read out the tweet from a fan during his app launch.
It was his reaction to the comment that sparked a major uproar.
"Okay, I don't think you should live in India then...you should go and live somewhere else, no? Why are you living in our country and loving other countries? I don't mind you not liking me but I don't think you should live in our country and like other things. Get your priorities right," Kohli replied.
However, Kohli on Thursday took to Twitter to clarify why he made that comment.
"I guess trolling isn't for me guys, I'll stick to getting trolled! I spoke about how "these Indians" was mentioned in the comment and that's all. I'm all for freedom of choice. Keep it light guys and enjoy the festive season. Love and peace to all," Kohli tweeted.
I guess trolling isn't for me guys, I'll stick to getting trolled! ??Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) November 8, 2018
I spoke about how "these Indians" was mentioned in the comment and that's all. I’m all for freedom of choice. ?? Keep it light guys and enjoy the festive season. Love and peace to all. ???
Since Kohli's video went viral, fans have expressed their staunch views over the 30-year-old's statements calling him arrogant and obnoxious. One fan said Kohli may have had a brain fade moment and shouldn't be attacked.
Rang De Basanti actor Siddharth called the Indian skipper's comment "an idiotic set of words".
"If you want to remain #KingKohli it may be time to teach yourself to think 'What would Dravid say?' before speaking in future. What an idiotic set of words to come from an #India #captain!" Siddharth tweeted.
If you want to remain #KingKohli it may be time to teach yourself to think 'What would Dravid say?' before speaking in future. What an idiotic set of words to come from an #India #captain! https://t.co/jVsoGAESuMSiddharth (@Actor_Siddharth) November 8, 2018
Kohli has a huge following on social media with most of his posts showing him sweating it out at the gym, which strikes a chord with the youth of the country. He is well aware of his influence on the youth of the country and that he is closely followed not only by the media but millions who profess him their hero.
Cricket fans on social media have now started to dig out some old tweets of Kohli and have begun targetting him based on his own words.
"Don’t live in India if you love batsmen from other countries" This coming from someone who had his wedding in Italy.??November 7, 2018