New Delhi: Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir may have been one of India’s most successful opening pairs but the two found themselves on opposite ends of a debate around 20-year-old DU student Gurmehar Kaur.
Sehwag courted controversy last week by taking a dig at Gurmehar Kaur, the daughter of a Kargil war martyr who had recently started a social media campaign against the right-wing student outfit ABVP.
Last year, she had launched a similar campaign against the horrors of war. She had posted a silent video of her holding up placards.
One of the placards read, “Pakistan did not kill my dad, war did.” In an apparent dig at her video, Sehwag posted a picture of himself holding a similar placard that read, “I didn’t score two triple centuries, my bat did.” He had drawn sharp criticism on social media for his remarks.
On Wednesday morning, Gambhir, too, jumped into a debate with a passionate defense of Kaur’s freedom of expression. “The freedom of expression is absolute and equal for all! High time we learnt that and practiced it daily in every sphere of life,” he tweeted from his twitter handle @GautamGambhir. He attached a video with stock images of Gurmehar and running text.
“I have utmost respect for the Indian army. Their service to the nation and all of us is unmatched. However, the recent events have left me with a sense of disappointment. We live in a free country where everyone is entitled to their opinion. If a daughter who lost her father puts up posts about the horrors of war with the intention of achieving peace, she has all the right to. It is not an opportunity for everyone to show how patriotic they are and gang up on her to mock her. She is entitled to her opinion just as every other citizen is. Everyone may or may not agree with it but mocking her for it is despicable,” the text in Gambhir’s video read.
Meanwhile, Sehwag appeared to be defensive after his tweets kicked up a social media row. In a series of fresh tweets, he said, “My tweet was an attempt to be facetious rather than one to bully anyone over their opinion. Agreement or disagreement wasn't even a factor. She has a right to express her views and anyone who threatens her with violence or rape is the lowest form of life. Everyone has a right to express their views without being bullied or threatened. Gurmehar Kaur or the Phogat sisters.”
Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir were two parts of a well oiled machine, which took Indian cricket to great heights in thw first decade of the 2000s. The opening duo were the backbone of a team which eventually reached the zenith of Test cricket under MS Dhoni’s captaincy.
In a 9-year span that the duo opened the innings for India in Test cricket, Sehwag and Gambhir put on 4412 runs in 87 innings at a whopping average of 52.52. They shared 11 century partnerships and 25 partnerships of fifty-plus between them.
Apart from playing together for Team India, they also played together in the initial years of the IPL for Delhi Daredevils and were a constant fixture of the Delhi Ranji team, when not representing the national side.