How an official fan club became the apex of a lynch mob

In one of the book signings today, a gentleman asked me where the maximum abuse came from. It was a pretty straightforward answer. And the truth is, it came from The Cricketer’s official fan page and was engineered by the principal administrator of that platform. We were shocked to see that he was allowed to go ahead without any checks, whipping up a frenzy day in and day out – directed at my wife and family, who had absolutely no role in the entire issue. 

The fan page was actually used as a troll army by those in power and the people administering it. The abuse had to be seen to be believed. At every step, they attacked Sharmistha Gooptu, my mother and father. What was strange was that The Cricketer, whose every little detail is on the official page, did not even say a word to stop it. A nod from him and the vitriol against my parents and wife could have been stopped. But the fan page admins kept going on for months, and did everything possible to destroy the family. When I said this in answer to the question, there was stunned silence. 

It is a shocking testament to how official fan pages can be misused, and how instead of celebrating the sport and the player, they can turn into troll armies that go to war against individuals and their families. It’s also a reminder of how such platforms can be hijacked and manipulated. The abuse is still very much there on the page and unless they delete it tonight, it is for all to see. This is a side of sport that we hardly ever talk about while celebrating fandom. How public support is misused to further an agenda based on hate and falsehood. 


The point to be made here is that not all fans can be painted with the same brush. How many fans really wanted to do it, and how many were manipulated in doing so? At whose behest, and how? And once an agenda is set and the match is lit by those that run the group, it is just a matter of time before it takes the shape of a mob. 

The principal administrator, who works for The Cricketer, was the main actor in this hate-peddling. It was as if he was determined to ensure, as Pullela Gopichand said, that I gave up. That I was driven to such a point that I did something drastic. He wasn’t happy that my calling card was taken from me. He wanted my wife to suffer, and my mother to feel the pain at every step. 

Did The Cricketer ever think he could have done better? That he could have reined in the fan group and the administrator? That a word from him would have made a difference? Or did he want all of it himself? While I don’t have an answer to that, the reason I haven’t taken any names in the book is because I don’t want anyone else or their family to suffer what I went through. It is inhuman. And not something I would ever be able to come to terms with. It breaks you. And leaves scars. And to think it was from an official fan page leaves you in shock. While I know the answer to how it was done, I will never understand why.

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