What started as a proud day for 27-year-old Parvez Rasool from Jammu & Kashmir, the first from the state to represent India in T20Is, soon became controversial. 

And it wasn’t because he had a forgettable debut. He made 6 runs with the bat and was taken for 32 runs in his four overs with a solitary wicket. It was something that happened before even the first ball was bowled.

When the camera panned to Rasool as the national anthem was being played before the match, he was seen chewing gum. 

Even before a ball was bowled in the match, the criticism began on social media, many on Twitter were outraged about “his attitude towards the anthem”. And for them there was an obvious reason: he was from Jammu and Kashmir.

But it’s worth wondering if the same amount of outrage would have been forthcoming if it was any other cricketer in Indian side. Rasool may not be the first Indian cricketer to chew gum during the national anthem and he definitely didn’t show any disrespect to the anthem by not singing it. 

A cricketer, at the end of the day, should be judged on the basis of his performance on the pitch. And that was something a few pointed out as they came out in support of the debutant as well: