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Virat Kohli mixes up Mithali Raj and Punam Raut in congratulatory Facebook post

Kohli was in the eye of the storm after a sensational gaffe
Aadya Sharma
Modified 13 Jul 2017, 13:58 IST

What’s the story?

The Indian women’s cricket team have been winning hearts with their stellar performances in the ongoing World Cup in England. Leading the way is Mithali Raj, one of India’s most experienced players, who became the first woman to complete 6000 ODI runs during the game against Australia.

Tributes and wishes poured in after she completed the historic feat, with India captain Virat Kohli joining the bandwagon by praising her on his social media handles.

However, the harmless message turned into an internet joke: as his alert followers pointed out, he posted a picture of opener Punam Raut instead of Mithali Raj on Facebook.

In case you didn’t know…

Mithali became the first woman to go past 6000 runs in ODIs, surpassing England’s Charlotte Edwards during India’s World Cup fixture against Australia. Edwards had scored 5992 runs in her 191 ODIs at an average of 38.16, while Raj managed to surpass her in 182 ODIs. Despite her 69 runs, and Raut’s sublime 106, India couldn’t notch up a win, turning their next game into a virtual quarter-final against New Zealand.

The heart of the matter

A screen grab of the now-deleted Facebook post (Image courtesy: Facebook/The Indian Express)

A regular presence on social media, Kohli has more than 35 million followers on Facebook, and frequently posts pictures of himself and the team, birthday wishes for teammates and congratulatory messages on Twitter and Instagram. 


The ‘Mithali’ post, possibly uploaded by a member of his social media team, carried Kohli’s message with a picture of Raut punching an off-drive against Australia, the same match in which Raj achieved the rare distinction. 

The now deleted post read: “A great moment for Indian cricket, Mithali Raj becomes the highest run scorer in Women’s ODI Cricket History today. Champion Stuff!”

Author’s take

Social media is dangerous territory - one that always has to be tread with caution. With eagle-eyed followers dissecting every bit of a celebrity’s post, and given how even a small goof-up goes viral, social media teams have to be on their toes all the time to ensure that all gaping holes are plugged.

Reactions to such blunders shouldn’t be extreme: the message from Kohli was in the right spirit and directed to the Indian captain. 

The misinformed social team member, whose shoddy work resulted in muck being thrown on Kohli, would surely have had to part ways with his job. 

Tweet speak

Twitterati was quick to pounce on Kohli for the glaring blunder:

Published 13 Jul 2017, 13:41 IST
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