The International Cricket Council (ICC) is quite popular for its quirky social media posts. On some occasions, the governing body of cricket turns into the third umpire for confused cricket fans and on others, it simply responds to the Internet trolling and fan complains with hard facts.
On Wednesday, ICC did the latter.
Hours before India opened their World Cup campaign against South Africa, ICC paid tribute to India skipper Virat Kohli with an illustration.
Kohli, who is often referred to as "King" by his admirers and critics for his staggering records and impeccable form in all the formats of the game, was turned into one by the cricket body.
The painting had Kohli seated on a throne, wearing an extraordinary cloak with ICC logo and a bejewelled crown. It showed the skipper holding a bat in one hand and a ball in the other. It further displayed India's number of wins in the Cricket World Cup since its inception and Kohli's ranking as a batsman in ODI and Test formats, which is number one.
Of course, the special tribute got the special treatment from the Internet. Some appreciated the art, some felt the cricketer looked more KL Rahul than Kohli himself, while others were quick to accuse ICC of being biased and partial towards the Indian player.
Former England skipper Michael Vaughan was among the many who questioned ICC's "impartiality". Quoting the cricket body's tweet, Vaughan wrote, "Nothing like impartiality!!!"
Not the one to shy away from reacting to online criticism, ICC responded to Vaughan's tweet with three screenshots - one with Kohli at #1 spot in ODI rankings, the other with Indian captain's #1 Test rankings, and the final snap celebrated Kohli's hat-trick win at the ICC awards.
Earlier in January, Kohli became the first player in history to win the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer of the Year, the ICC Men’s Test Player of the Year and the ICC ODI Player of the Year awards in the same year in what can be termed as a spectacular 2018.
"I feel really grateful and very, very happy with the team doing well at the same time myself performing. Having recognition at the global level from the ICC is something you feel proud of as a cricketer because you understand that there are many players playing the game," Kohli was quoted as saying in an ICC press release.
ICC Men's Cricketer of the Year ✅ICC Men's Test Cricketer of the Year ✅ICC Men's ODI Cricketer of the Year ✅Captain of ICC Test Team of the Year ✅Captain of ICC Men's ODI Team of the Year ✅Let's hear from the man himself, @imvKohli! #ICCAwards 🏆 pic.twitter.com/3M2pxyC44n— ICC (@ICC) January 22, 2019
Meanwhile, ICC's subtle burn didn't go unnoticed on Twitter.