Some Indian fans are really not taking their World Cup loss well.
Australia claimed its sixth World Cup title with a stunning victory in the wee hours of Monday morning, defeating India by six wickets with 42 balls remaining.
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It was arguably the greatest of the six, with the 92,453-strong crowd behind India and a sea of blue wherever you looked around Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
But after a stunning 120-ball 137 from man of the match Travis Head, Australia broke the host nation’s heart — and unleashed a torrent of vitriol in response.
The wives of Australian cricketers, foreign journalists and even New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham found themselves the target of vile social media attacks.
Even Nova 96.9 breakfast host Ryan “Fitzy” Fitzgerald is copping flak.
The former AFL footballer turned radio host and media personality revealed a simple congratulatory message for a fellow South Australian has led to some absolutely wild threats from upset Indian fans.
“They had everything on their side. They hadn’t lost a match. The World Cup was in India, they were cheating and doctoring the pictures, and our boys came out and we didn’t just beat them, and it wasn’t a close game — we absolutely annihilated them.”
Fitzy’s comment about India “cheating” and “doctoring pitches” was rooted in a series of conspiracy theories that emerged during the tournament.
One was a suggestion that Indian captain Rohit Sharma was purposely flipping the coin in a way to make it roll out of eyeshot of the opposition captain. But actually Sharma lost six of the 11 coin tosses in the tournament, so it seems that theory doesn’t have much juice.
There were also suggestions that India was getting different balls to the rest of the competition, and that the hosts were somehow manipulating the DRS reviews — both of which were rubbished.
However, the final flare-up came during the semi-final against New Zealand when the originally planned fresh pitched was not used, and a late switch made to a pre-used pitch instead.
The Indian Express also reported Indian officials asked BCCI curators to shave off most of the grass on the playing surface, which was meant to result in a slow pitch for the semi-final.
A slow, turning pitch would have been expected to suit India’s spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav, and yet off 10 overs each, they claimed 0/63 and 1/56 respectively, while Mohammed Shami took 7/57 and more than 700 runs were scored across the game.
Ahead of the final, Pat Cummins also reportedly questioned the pitch, which was “rock hard” in the middle, but rough at each end.
However, a brave call to bowl first by Pat Cummins meant that India appeared to have the tougher of the conditions as the dew made a difference in the evening, easing the difficulty of batting for Australia.
Fitzgerald said he responded to Head’s first post after the game, which was a photo of the team celebrating the win.
And that was how he landed in the crosshairs.
“I’ve met Trav few times,” Fitzy continued. “So his nickname is ‘Chaos’, right, the team call him ‘Chaos’ because when he goes to bat, it is chaos.
“So I wrote just a little comment underneath: ‘One for the ages Chaos, cannot imagine what it feels like to silence 130,000 fans, bloody deserve it Trav, worked your a** off, congrats brother.’
“I didn’t know that this was going to blow up so badly. The Indian fans have come for me and they are pretty upset.
“The first comment I got was, ‘Good so stop breeding like a rat and spreading everywhere you smelly man.’
“Next one was: ‘Go find your girlfriend a ball cuc*y boy.’
“Then it starts to get a bit full on. It says: ‘We are already top five in the world. Our military is in fourth spot, the BCCI can wipe off the whole Aussie Cricket Board in a moment and that’s how much money we have. Breaking 1.3 billion hearts in an election year won’t go unpunished. Just see what happened to Canada.’ I don’t even know what that means.
“It starts ramping up even more: ‘You sound so cringy it’s a sports match little Hitler. Great job Australia and Travis.’
“Someone said: ‘Silencing 130,000 People that sounds a bit Hitlerish.’
“Then it gets even more. ‘Silence India? We have got 150,000 nukes and will be the third largest economy on the planet in two years. We are everywhere, in your parliament to your uni. You really want to see who gets silenced? Like really, really silenced. Consequences will be extreme.
“And then they back that up by saying: ‘The curse of 1.5 billion people will reach you in no time. But what will it be — an earthquake, a tsunami, a war, a pandemic? One thing is certain by this time next year your country will be rubble.”
Fitzy’s co-hosts Wippa and Ritchie were in disbelief.
“So are they now praying for a natural disaster against Australia?” Wippa asked.
“I’m just congratulating a guy who made a ton,” Fitzgerald laughed. “I just wanted to say good knock and then all of a sudden Australia’s gone.”
Fitzy’s not alone in copping it just for celebrating the Australian’s win.
Glenn Maxwell’s wife Vini Raman, who is of Indian descent, posted a message on social media exposing the shameful aftermath.
“Aaaaand cue all the hateful vile DMs. Stay classy …” she wrote on Instagram.
“Can’t believe this needs to be said BUT you can be Indian, also support the country of your birth where you have been raised, and more importantly the team your husband and father of your child plays in.
“Take a chill pill and direct that outrage towards more important world issues.”
Aussie matchwinner Travis Head’s wife Jessica was also bombarded with nasty comments that were described as “disgusting” and “grubby” after his knock of 137.
ESPN Australia contributor Steve Smith posted messages from fans that read, “I hope plane crashes, all of your team die along with their family members,” and “If I ever see you somewhere, you’re not walking out from there.”
Ian Higgins, who hosts the popular Grade Cricketer podcast, was also told to “kill himself”.
However, while there are some bad eggs, there are plenty more fans embarrassed by the trolls among them and apologising for the over-reaction.
Remember everyone — it’s just a game. No need for nuclear war.
Originally published as Radio host Ryan Fitzgerald dragged into ‘disgusting’ World Cup aftermath