Virat Kohli was granted paternity leave by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). He is all set to miss the remaining test series. Yes, Virat Kohli will go back to India for the birth of his first child. Yes, Virat will lose 26 points in Test Rankings. So, did he commit a crime? Is he anti-national?
Well, according to some people or experts he is. Don’t forget he was on ‘National Duty.’ Here is how people criticized Virat on social media:
Though I respect Virat Kohli and his paternity leave is very much genuine and he deserves it..
And that's why MS Dhoni becomes more special because his first priority was his Nation when Ziva was born.
It takes a lot of courage to become The MS Dhoni..!!#AUSvIND
— Ashim Prakash (@apjpsinha) November 9, 2020
Its about priority.
Pic 1 : select explanatory.
— Ankit Taunk (@nkit_taunk) November 9, 2020
he his not able to be compare with the great cricketer
when u playing for a India, the 1st priority comes for the nation
— Shrikant (@shrikantshivan7) November 11, 2020
Kohli should perform his National Duty because he is a Soldier and Soldiers don't get maternity leaves when your country needs you. We know seeing your first child is the best moment but National duty comes first. @iamVkohli @
— SUNNYMANNPRODUCTIONS (@SUNNYMANNPRODU1) December 19, 2020
Ms Dhoni was captaining India in a World Cup when his daughter was born. He was asked by a reporter whether he missed being in India during his daughter’s birth, to which he replied: “As of now, I am on national duties so I think everything else can wait. The World Cup is a very important campaign.” There is no point comparing Virat’s scenario with Dhoni. The world cup is a more significant or important campaign than a test series.
Let us get this straight; at the end of the day, Virat Kohli is just another sportsperson. He has every right to take paternity leave. That does not make him anti-national. India does not have any provisions of paternity leave to entitle any benefit to the fathers. Government employees are entitled to 15 days of paternity leave, whereas paternity leave for private-sector employees depends on their employers. Like all employees or people, sportspeople can be fathers and mothers and they deserve equal treatment.
Recently, Kane Williamson took paternity leave and he missed out on the last test against West Indies and 1st T20I against Pakistan. Nobody said a word. In July 2020, England captain Joe Root took paternity leave for the birth of his second child. He missed the first test against West Indies. Rohit Sharma, Joe Denly, and Kane Richardson all took paternity leaves. Nobody said a word.
Whether it is memes or random tweets by fans, people always find a way to criticize him and attack him personally. Former Indian cricketer Dilip Doshi and legendary batsman Sunil Gavaskar also commented about Virat’s paternity leave.
“To me, captaining India would be the prime-most thing on my mind. It’s a sinking ship. This is the time when they need their captain the most. If you leave at this time, you are leaving the side to your deputy with a lot of questions unanswered. I only hope and pray that the team shows enough character to come out of this,” Dilip Doshi said on a Facebook Live session on Sportskeeda.
“I know this is a modern phenomenon that people believe that they ought to be by the side of their family and spouses when they deliver a child. But when you are on a national duty… If I put myself in his shoes, I wouldn’t have gone. For me, national duty comes before everything else,” he further added.
Well, captaining India is and will be a prime-most thing for any player. Virat Kohli is arguably one of the best batsmen in the world right now. I agree India might be incapacitated without Virat. But Virat has a life outside cricket and some people need to understand that. National duty comes first but not at the cost of your family. We should rather focus on the current squad and how we will play Australia. Because as far as I know, we have ten other players. And the only unanswered question is; who will replace Kohli in the playing XI?
“Another player who will wonder about the rules, but, of course, can’t make any noise about it as he is a newcomer. It is from T. Natarajan. The left-arm yorker specialist who made an impressive debut in the T20 and had Hardik Pandya gallantly offering to share the man of the T20 series prize with him had become a father for the first time even as the IPL playoffs were going on,” Sunil Gavaskar wrote in his column for Sportstar
“He was taken to Australia directly from UAE and then looking at his brilliant performances, he was asked to stay on for the Test series but not as a part of the team but as a net bowler. Imagine that. A match-winner, albeit in another format, being asked to be a net bowler. He will thus return home only after the series ends in the third week of January and get to see his daughter for the first time then. And there is the captain going back after the first Test for the birth of his first child. That’s Indian cricket,” Gavaskar added further.
Well, it is up to an individual. Initially, Varun Chakravarthy was selected for the tour. Later he got injured and Natarajan replaced him. The final call is taken by the player. If management offered Natarajan to stay as a net bowler, he could have said no to the management. Natarajan decided to stay as a net bowler, not management. Hardik Pandya went to see his child after the white ball series. That was Hardik Pandya’s choice. Not management’s. I guess it is high time we should stop criticizing management for everything. Ashwin and Natarajan can come up and say if they are having problems with the management.
Virat Kohli on taking paternity leave: “I wanted to be back home in time to be with my wife for the birth of my first child.”
Virat Kohli did not want to miss the birth of his child. Thus, he went to India. Not to forget, Initially, Virat Kohli was supposed to play three tests at first. But due to quarantine restrictions, he had to leave after the first test.
Virat has achieved many milestones in his career. He led India to a World Cup Semi-Final; Champions Trophy Final. Under his captaincy, India became the Number 1 test team. India won their first test series in Australia under Virat’s captaincy. Virat has always stood up and fought for his country in every way possible.
Milestones would come and go, records will be broken, and history will be re-written. But you would not see your child’s birth again. Maybe it is time for him to enjoy this part of his life as well for a while.