Vijay Mallya may be out of the country to avoid jail-time but the liquor baron has not stopped commenting on his social media profiles. Lately, he expressed an opinion on the performance of Indian Premier League (IPL) team Royal Challengers Bangalore in the present season.
The Virat Kohli-led side finished at the bottom of the table this year. While the captain has been gracious in defeat and thanked the fans for their continued support, Mallya seems to be much more adversely impacted with the results of the side owned by United Spirits, a company he formerly headed. In an interesting tweet, the businessman reacted to an Instagram post of Kohli. This post shows fans in one of the stands of Chinnaswamy Stadium holding a large banner stating their loyalty to the team despite disappointing results.
The owner of now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines wrote, linking this post: "Always a great line up but sadly on paper only. Devastated with the wooden spoon." This brief but clear tweet shows that Mallya is not happy about RCB's performance. You would wonder whether somebody who is en route to being extradited to India and put in jail would have bigger things to concern him.
But then again, he splurged money on this team in the same way he did on other ventures of his. And the results haven't been much better. But the most curious thing is his decision to put out this tweet in response to Virat Kohli's rather admirable expression of gratitude to the fans. What does this indicate?
Kohli wrote in his post: "Thank you guys for all the love & support - the entire team including the fans, the ground staff & the support staff! Promise to come back stronger next year." On the face of it, there seems to be no link between what the RCB captain said and what was stated by the former owner. But probably, he is reacting to Kohli's promise of coming back stronger in 2020 edition.
Does it also indicate some kind of rift between the businessman and the captain? The leadership of Kohli has come for criticism this season. It was during the time of Mallya that Kohli took charge of the side. But, since then, a lot has changed. Perhaps, Mallya also feels insulted by Kohli. His appearance during a function where the Indian team was present last year in London created a stir and the team quickly disassociated themselves from him. A meeting between the two in future looks improbable.