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‘Their opinions don’t align with the team’ – Kohli comes down hard on Pandya, Rahul

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

India captain Virat Kohli has stated in no uncertain terms that there’s no place for inappropriate comments from anyone associated with the team. His warning follows the furore surrounding Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul’s comments on an Indian TV show, which were accused of being sexist and racist.

Kohli, speaking at the Sydney Cricket Ground on the eve of India’s first one-day international against Australia, distanced himself and the team from the comments made by Pandya and Rahul, saying they didn’t reflect the views of the Indian team.

“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 and the two concerned players felt what has gone wrong and they have understood the magnitude of what’s happened,” said Kohli.

When the host of the show asked Pandya “why don’t you ask women’s names at nightclubs?” the Indian cricketer responded, “I like to watch and observe how they move. I am a little from the black side so I need to see how they move.” It was one of many answers that didn’t go down well with the viewers.

Following widespread criticism, the BCCI issued show-cause notices to both players. Pandya took to Twitter to apologise, saying he had been “carried away by the nature of the show” but despite that, the BCCI are mulling a two-match suspension, at the very least, to set a precedent for the future.

Kohli said the realisation of having said something offensive must “hit anyone hard” for them to understand that “things have not gone right”.

“We, definitely, as the Indian cricket team do not support views like that and that has been communicated,” he said. “I can definitely say that as the Indian cricket team and responsible cricketers we definitely don’t align with those views and those are purely individual views.

“We are still waiting for a decision to be made but from the Indian cricket team point of view this changes nothing in terms of our beliefs in the change room. It does nothing to the spirit that we’ve been able to create within the change room, and these are purely individual opinions and something, as I said, is inappropriate.”

While it remains unclear whether Pandya and Rahul will be handed suspensions, if they do miss out, it could force India to change their plans in the first ODI. However, with Ravindra Jadeja in the squad, India have their bases covered should Pandya, a key all-rounder, not play in the series opener.

“From the combination and team balance point of view, yes, you’ll have to think about the combination you’ll need now,” Kohli admitted.

“You don’t have control over these things so you have to address it the way it unfolds. That’s how we are looking at it, the combinations will have to be looked at when the decision comes out and from there on we’ll see what needs to be done about the whole situation.”

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