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Deep Analysis: Online hate against Md. Shami, Virat Kohli & Rohit Sharma

October 24,2021 marks the first game of the T20 World Cup 2021 tournament between Pakistan & Indian Cricket Team. For both countries the match was monumental as the history of India-Pakistan rivalry continues to persist even in sports. India lost the match, handing Pakistan its first win against the arch rival at any World Cup.

Post-match, many memes were posted by both sides regarding such a loss, some taking it in good spirits while others, not so much. Indians are passionate about cricket and this passion gets a tad bit extreme when the team doesn’t perform their best. 

After this match, a massive amount of hate was directed towards the captain of the team Virat Kohli, Indian bowler Mohammed Shami and Rohit Sharma.

Within this analysis, we understand how much hate each of them received and who were the people who indulged in this hatred.

Focal points:

  • Tweets and replies on Shami peaked on 26th with more than 6500 tweets.
  • Religious angle and ISI angle to the hatred towards Shami was given by Pakistani accounts, it was then taken over by some handles in India.
  • More than 4100 tweets and more than 500 replies were made on the hashtag #विराट_कोहली_कप्तानी_छोड़ो. Mostly amplified by supporters of BJP.
  • Tweets on Mohammad Shami were done maximum number of times followed by Virat Kohli with 60.7% and 34.2% respectively.
  • Tweets on Rohit Sharma spiked on 24th Oct 2021, after he was dismissed on first ball. Mostly trolled by Indians.

Mohammed Shami

Tweets on Mohammad Shami had a mixed reaction. Some of the tweets were in support of Shami and some blamed Shami for letting Pakistan win the match in the end by calling him an ISI agent. A few tweets attacked his religious identity and suggested that he has an allegiance to Pakistan just because he is Muslim.

Analyzing the accounts who trolled “Shami for being an ISI Agent”

We have enlisted the list of 10 first tweets along with their accounts, which blamed Shami to be an ISI Agent.

S. No.AccountLocationDate & time when account
used Shami & ISI keyword
in their tweet in negative tone
Tweet
1Raza (@alirazah)Windsor/Mississauga, CanadaOct 24, 2021 at 10:47 PM Tweet  
2Muhammad Kamran (@MKamran_98)  Not specified
tweets prove location to be Pakistan  
Oct 24, 2021 at 10:57 PM Tweet  
3Musab Ali (mmak_285)PakistanOct 24, 2021 at 10:57 PM Tweet
4Saèdiq (@nuttyblossom)Pakistan11:03 PM · Oct 24, 2021  Tweet
5  Ali Ahmed (ZaptosS)Barrington, NJ11:03 PM · Oct 24, 2021  Tweet
6Amجad (@alifhey1)Kot Addu, Pakistan11:04 PM · Oct 24, 2021Tweet
7Abdullah (کڑلال) @abdu19ahhRawalpindistanOct 24, 2021 at 11:06 PM
& 11:06 PM  
Same Content was tweeted twice
Tweet 1
Tweet 2
8Tahir Qadree (@TahirQadree)Location not specified.
It seems to be a bot account
created on Sept, 2021.
Has 1 Follower and 8 Following.
Only 35 Tweets, only retweets and replies
Oct 24, 2021 at 11:18 PM,
11:21 PM, 11:23 PM
& 11:25 PM
4 tweets back to back with the same content

Tweet1, Tweet 2, Tweet3, Tweet4  
Table 1: First 10 tweets along with their accounts which blamed Shami to be an ISI Agent

This shows the hatred against Shami was started from foreign countries mostly Pakistan and Indians were instigated to “use hatred terms and attack Shami because of his religion” in their tweets.

Even some misleading claims were also spread by Pakistani users in the name of Shami that Indians are calling Shami an ISI agent on his Instagram account.

Account Ahmed claims that Indians have started calling Mohammed Shami an ISI Agent. Some images of Instagram comments were also attached with it

But on analyzing the images, there was no comment by users saying Md Shami an ISI Agent. This fake claim was posted by twice.

Tweets and replies on Shami peaked on 26th Oct, 2021 with more than 6500 tweets.

There is a spike in number of tweets on 26th Oct, 2021 because at this time, many verified accounts took over their social media platforms to show their support to Shami using #IStandWithShami hashtag.

Analyzing #IStandWithShami hashtag:

Timeline:

Timeline shows that the hashtag #IStandWithShami had peak of more than 5400 tweets and more than 1300 replies on 25th Oct.

Below data shows the hashtags that were running along with #IStandWithShami.

Users who amplified this hashtag the most:

Since the hashtag became immensely popular, here are some of the people who amplified the hashtag the most : @sarvasupra1985 , @Mohamma40711283 and @HYDERSA55066511

Virat Kohli

The hashtag #विराट_कोहली_कप्तानी_छोड़ began trending almost right after the match on 24 October and below we present an analysis of the same.

On analysing the first 5 tweets using hashtag #विराट_कोहली_कप्तानी_छोड़, it was observed that the hatred for Kohli was started by Indians, they were expressing their anger after India losing the match.

S. No.AccountLocationDate & Time of TweetTweet
1Rahul Kumar @RahulKu34109979No specified.  Oct 24,2021 at 11:54 PMTweet 
2राकेश सिंह भारतीय🇮🇳 @Real_Rakesh2020Lucknow, IndiaOct 25, 2021 at 12:04 AM Tweet
3अंजना हिन्दुस्तानी @r_anjanarptelAhmedabadOct 25, 2021 at 12:15 AM Tweet 
4Anuj Gour @AnujGour3781993Madhya Pradesh, IndiaOct 25, 2021 at 12:21 AMTweet
5mihir @mihir11068606No Location specifiedOct 25, 2021 at 6:46 AMTweet
Table 2: First 5 tweets using #विराट_कोहली_कप्तानी_छोड़ along with the name of their handles

Timeline:

Timeline shows that tweets and replies were at the maximum on 25th Oct with more than 4100 tweets and more than 500 replies on the hashtag #विराट_कोहली_कप्तानी_छोड़.

A spike on 25th Oct 2021 is seen because mostly accounts used the same hashtag 4-5 times. One account following this pattern is ब्राह्मण(@laxmangomtiwal)

Wordcloud of the tweets on Virat Kohli

Wordcloud

Multiple hashtags on the match were trending together with the hashtag on Virat Kohli but the maximum engagement was witnessed in the #विराट_कोहली_कप्तानी_छोड़ with over 5600 tweets.

Users who amplified the most

The list of users who amplified  the tweet the most include @Brand_pandit1, @Chauhan0078 and @NoopurPoojara who each tweeted on the hashtag multiple times.

S. No.Account NameProfile DescriptionFollowersNumber of Times the hashtag used
1@Brand_pandit1Professional programmer Writing hand BJP IT Cell | Proud Indian | Nationalist | Social Proud of @myogiadityanath  & @narendramodi  ji11.3K48 (only 2 visible on search, rest deleted)
2@Chauhan0078नमस्ते सदा वत्सले मातृभूमे, त्वया हिन्दुभूमे सुखं वर्धितोऽहम्!!2.6K42, it can be seen here
3@NoopurPoojaraएक हिन्दू FireFire Flag of Indiaमेरा pm मेरा अभिमान @narendramodi   #हर हर महादेव3.6K39, it can be seen here
Table 3: Analyzing top3 accounts which amplified #विराट_कोहली_कप्तानी_छोड़ो

Thus, it can be said that the accounts which amplified this hashtag of Virat Kohli, were supporters of BJP and PM Narendra Modi. Account which used the hashtag 48 times is the BJP IT Cell account as is specified in its profile description.

Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma too received a lot of hate because he lost the wicket on the first ball itself setting a losing streak for the team or so it was believed. People used the word ‘Golden duck’ for Rohit Sharma to express disappointment and anger towards him.

S.No.AccountLocationTime and Date of TweetTweet
1Abdul @ALAM_ABDULAPakistanOct 24, 2021 at 7:30 PMTweet
2Mufaddal Vohra @mufaddal_vohraNo location specifiedOct 24, 2021 at 7:33 PMTweet  
3Aditya @CAA_256Hyderabad, IndiaOct 24, 2021 at 7:33 PMTweet
4Johns. @CricCrazyJohnsKerela, IndiaOct 24, 2021 at 7:33 PMTweet
5Prajakta @18prajaktaNo Location specifiedOct 24, 2021 at 7:33 PMTweet  
Table 4: Analyzing the first 5 tweets along with their handles which trolled Rohit Sharma by using “Golden Duck”

This was started by a account in Pakistan and eventually picked up by India to express the disappointment of being dismissed at first ball faced.

Timeline shows that the tweets for Rohit Sharma peaked on the same day of the match, i.e, 24th Oct, 2021.

Word cloud of tweets on Rohit Sharma

Users who amplified the most:

Users who amplified the tweets the most were @Day596 , @iamsohail__1 and @ Shaheerali78678

S. No.Account NameFollowersNumber of Times the hashtag used
1@Day59643, it can be seen here
2@iamsohail__1933, it can be seen here.
3@ Shaheerali7867843, it can be seen here.
Table 5: Analyzing top 3 accounts which amplified “Rohit Sharma Golden Duck”

Tweets Pie Chart

Tweets on Mohammad Shami were done maximum number of times followed by Virat Kohli with 60.7% and 34.2% respectively.

Conclusion:

While the India-Pakistan T20 match was going on, Rohit Sharma started trolling on social media because he was dismissed on the first ball by Shaheen Afridi. When it came to the second innings of the game, even Mohammad Shami was not able to perform well, Indians trolled him the same but the ISI angle and religious angle to the troll was started by Pakistani handles. At the same time the captain of Indian Cricket team, Virat Kohli was also trolled and the top accounts which amplified the hashtag #विराट_कोहली_कप्तानी_छोड़ो were supporters of Indian political party, BJP.

The passion displayed for cricket often translates to raw emotions that are mostly negative in nature and is detrimental not just for the cricketer who is getting the hate but also disturbs the harmony within society.