Several Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and Union ministers heaped praises on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for reaching out to Team India players in their dressing room to console them after their loss to Australia in the ICC Cricket World Cup final on Sunday.
In a video shared by Union ministers, Modi is seen lauding the Indian men’s cricket team for their 10 consecutive wins in the tournament and asking them to motivate each other as he met them, Including captain Rohit Sharma and star batsman Virat Kohli, after their six-wicket defeat against Australia.
Taking to social media X, BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya said, “This is what leadership is all about… Standing with the team when the chips are down. The warmth and assurance must have been uplifting for the team, which had just lost the final despite winning every game in the run up. There is so much to learn from Prime Minister Modi…”
Sharing the video, BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla, said, “A true leader is one who stands by you not during the best of the times but the most difficult of situations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Team India in their dressing room after the ICC World Cup Finals.”
Union minister Jitendra Singh said PM Modi encouraged the team and lauded the players for their performance throughout the World Cup.
Another Union minister Piyush Goyel also shared the video and asserted that “the entire country stands with you”.
Modi also interacted with other players and the team’s coach Rahul Dravid. He invited them to meet him whenever they come to Delhi.
“India stands with them today and always,” the prime minister said, sharing a brief video on social media on Tuesday of his meeting with the squad soon after the final at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium.
“You reached here after winning 10 matches. These things happen,” the prime minister is seen telling captain Rohit Sharma and champion batter Virat Kohli, holding their hands, in the video.
“Smile, the country is watching you,” he said.
Modi hugged Mohammed Shami, India’s most impressive bowler in the tournament, and said he performed very well.
Seen as the favourite to win the World Cup after they brushed aside all their rivals, including Australia, in the league matches without much difficulty, India lost in the final to the Pat Cummins-led side on Sunday by six wickets.
Opposition criticises PM Modi
Several opposition leaders, including Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi, criticised Modi’s “pep talk” to the Indian cricketers.
In a post on X, Chaturvedi alleged the “cricketers looked uncomfortable” as they had to deal with the loss and then the camera that came with the PM.
“The Indian cricketers clearly look uncomfortable, having to deal with the loss and then have cameras thrust on them inside the dressing room for PM’s team to record ‘pep talk’. Yeah, you can troll this tweet as much as you’ll want,” the Shiv Sena (UBT) leader wrote.
Former cricketer and Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Kirti Azad also reacted to Modi’s interaction with the Indian players in the dressing room.
“The dressing room is the sanctum sanctorum of any team. The ICC does not allow anybody to enter these rooms apart from the players and the support staff. The Prime Minister should have met the team outside the dressing room in the private visitors’ area. I say this as a sportsman and not a politician. Would Narendra Modi allow his supporters to come and console or congratulate him in his bedroom, dressing room or the toilet?” said Azad, who was a part of India’s 1983 World Cup squad.