Sexist comments and scandalous revelations have plunged India’s one-day team into turmoil, with India’s board suspending two players, sending them home immediately, as captain Virat Kohli makes his displeasure clear.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) banned KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya with immediate effect on Saturday after fallout from controversial comments they made on TV talk show Koffee with Karan earlier this week.
The pair will miss the entire three-match ODI series in Australia, set to start on Saturday at the SCG, followed by the tour of New Zealand, with the BCCI set to name replacements in due course.
A statement on the BCCI’s official website read: “The CoA (Committee of Administrators), in accordance with the BCCI, has decided to suspend Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul from playing any form of cricket after their comments on a TV show.
“The duo will now return to India and an inquiry and proceedings will be made against them for misconduct and indiscipline that have been initiated under Rule 41 of the BCCI constitution.
“The duo is now called upon to provide an explanation as to why they should not be proceeded against for misconduct and indiscipline under Rule 41 of the BCCI constitution within a period of seven days.”
The storm erupted when Pandya and Rahul’s appearance on the show left the audience gasping when Pandya, a gun all-rounder, detailed losing his virginity and boasted of telling his parents about it.
Indian culture imposes strictures on the public display of sexuality, which is why you will never see even a kiss in Bollywood movies. To crow about your amorous antics, as Panya did, has shocked straightlaced fans.
The Committee of Administrators (CoA) asked the pair to explain the comments and Pandya apologised but after considering their reply, the BCCI decided to charge both players for misconduct and indiscipline.
Meanwhile, scathing condemnations are filling India’s mainstream and social media.
“A good cricketer does not a good man make it seems,” thundered columnist Times of India, branding Pandya “quite a slimeball”.
“Most of the interview was about women, what he felt about them and how he treated them and – his views were cringeworthy.”
A stern Kohli was at pains to distance himself and his squad from the views Pandya and Rahul expressed about women.
“From the Indian cricket team point of view, any inappropriate comments that are made in that scenario are something that we definitely don’t support,” Kohli told reporters.
“The two concerned players felt what has gone wrong and they have understood the magnitude.
“It has to hit anyone hard – they will definitely understand the things that have not gone right.
“These are purely individual opinions … we definitely, as the Indian cricket team, do not support views like that and that has been communicated.”
Pandya has done his best to make the scandal go away, tweeting a grovelling apology in a bid to retain his place on the team.
— hardik pandya (@hardikpandya7) January 9, 2019
The apology did nothing to mollify steaming cricket buffs, who deluged him with tweets attacking everything from his morals to his parents for not raising him correctly.
Shame on padhya's parents. Is this way to bring up ur kid.
Encouraging kid to treat women as commodity.
Shame on @hardikpandya7 and @BCCI
He shud be banned from Australia Nz series.
Have some spine @BCCIdomestic @BCCIWomen Or ur rotten board who just love money and crass
— Sam (@Samluv4all) January 10, 2019
An Indian selection meeting about the SCG clash is now underway.
“You have to adjust with the situation,” Kohli said.
“We need to go out there and play cricket. All these external factors are not going to derail our motivation or the preparation for the World Cup.”
Kohli insisted the saga had not taken the shine off India’s maiden Test series win in Australia.
“Definitely not going to dampen anything that we’ve achieved,” he said.
Jasprit Bumrah, the top-ranked ODI bowler in the world, who dismantled Australia in the recent Test series, has been rested from the three one-dayers.
Swing king Bhuvneshwar Kumar, overlooked throughout the Test series, headlines the list of touring quicks keen to make their mark.