Cricket is one of the most popular games in India. But it is also the biggest catalyst for bringing out toxic misogyny among men. And the latest example of such toxicity followed the Chennai Super Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders match on Wednesday.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav were on the receiving end of social media trolling after CSK failed to chase down the target of 168 set by KKR at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
But while violent trolling and abuse of players (and even their wives and girlfriends) is a common reaction from so-called "fans" every time their favourite team loses a match, the hate now seems to be spreading to children and minors.
In a disturbing incident, while hundreds trolled Dhoni, some tweets and Facebook posts threatening Dhoni's five-year-old daughter also surfaced. And not just any threat, these were threats of rape and physical violence.
People abusing Ziva Dhoni for yesterday's loss??? Wtf is wrong with you mfs?— Shash🏌️ (@_Shakti_maan) October 8, 2020
6 Year Old Ziva Is Getting Rape Threats Because Dhoni Didn't Play Well YesterdayThis Is India,I'm Disappointed As An Indian😕😞I Trolled Kedar In The Lightest Way I Cud But I Didn't Abuse HimWho Are These Bastards Who Are Absuing Kedar And Dhoni 😡#CSKvsKKR #SRHvsKXIP pic.twitter.com/4e24OUrNGH— Peppy Soul (@VarunRDCR7) October 8, 2020
Trigger warning// rapeSo Ziva Dhoni, a tiny small child, is getting rape threats because her father MS Dhoni didn't perform well in IPL or something?????I hate this country and it's men. Hate it. Mard ki jaat sali mdrchd hai.— Palak (@Suh_What) October 9, 2020
The threats allegedly appeared on Dhoni and his wife Sakshi's Instagram accounts following Wednesday's loss.
After Dhoni fell to Chakravarthy for 11 (12) in the 17th over, CSK still needed 39 off 21. Kedar Jadhav, on the other hand, struggled to middle the ball, scoring an unbeaten yet snail-paced 7 off 12.
The equation came down to CSK needing 26 in their final 6 deliveries. Ravindra Jadeja played a cameo in the match's final over bowled by Andre Russel but it was too little too late for CSK as KKR emerged winners by a mere 10 runs.
This is not the first time, of course, that a cricketer's family has had to face online abuse due to their poor performance on the pitch. Most recently, actress Anuskha Sharma, who is married to current Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli, was widely panned on social media for her husband's poor performance. Not just trolls, even commentator Sunil Gavaskar took a dig at Sharma, claiming that Kohli's poor performance was a result of lack of practice as the lockdown had meant he could only practice with Sharma.