As former cricketer Gautam Gambhir joined the BJP today, he was praised by Union Minister Arun Jaitley for not being among the players who "seemed to have turned sympathisers of Pakistan". Mr Jaitley also brought up an India-Pak match in which Mr Gambhir had a heated exchange with former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi.
"If you have read his tweets while he played cricket and if you remember his famous visual in the match with Pakistan, there was unpleasantness. At least our experience of former cricketers turning Pakistan sympathisers seems unlikely in this case," Mr Jaitley said.
The remarks brought to the mind another former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, who quit the BJP in 2016 and later joined the Congress. Now a Punjab minister, Mr Sidhu has been caught in a controversy over his visit across the border for Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's oath ceremony in August, in which he had a front row seat and was seen hugging the Pakistan army chief.
Gautam Gambhir's political debut as a member of the ruling party comes as it finalizes candidates for the April-May national election.
The former batsman, who retired from cricket in December, is expected to contest the polls from Delhi.
"I have been influenced by the PM, his vision for the country. This is a fabulous platform for me to do something for the country," Gautam Gambhir, 37, said.
The former cricketer is known to be vocal on social media and has made strong comments on contemporary politics and incidents like the Pulwama terror attack, in which 40 soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed.