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Indian Premier League 2020

‘Where am I being sexist in this?’ – Gavaskar responds to Anushka Sharma’s criticism

by Wisden Staff 2-minute read

Sunil Gavaskar has issued a clarification after Indian actor Anushka Sharma criticised him for supposedly ‘distasteful’ comments made on-air while her husband Virat Kohli was batting during Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) 2020 IPL encounter against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP).

Gavaskar was commenting on Kohli’s batting during RCB’s failed-chase of 207 when he said, “While the lockdown was imposed [in India], he [Kohli] just faced Anushka’s bowling – you should see the video – that won’t do much [to his batting],” referring to the RCB captain’s lack of recent practice.

His comments, however, didn’t go down well with Anushka, who posted a story on Instagram, criticising Gavaskar for his remarks. But the cricketer-turned-commentator soon issued a clarification, saying he wasn’t blaming Anushka and was merely referring to a video which showed Kohli and Anushka playing cricket together during the Covid-19 lockdown in India.

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“As you hear from the commentary, Aakash and I were doing commentary for the Hindi channel,” Gavaskar told India Today. “And Aakash was talking about the fact that there has been very little chance for proper practice for everybody. That has actually shown in the rustiness of some of the players in their first matches.

“Rohit didn’t strike the ball well in his first match, MSD didn’t strike the ball well, Virat also didn’t strike the ball. Most of the batsmen have because of the lack of practice. That was the point that was being made. Virat also had no practice and the only practice that he had was when we saw them playing in their building compound and Anushka was bowling to him. That’s what I said. That’s the only bowling, I have not used any other word. She was bowling to him, that’s all.

“Where am I blaming her? Where am I being sexist in this? I am just stating what was seen in the video which was maybe recorded by somebody in the neighbouring buildings and then put up. That’s the only thing I am doing.

“The point I am trying to make is that there was no practice for anybody, including Virat in the lockdown. I am not being sexist. If somebody, has interpreted it, what can I do?

“I would like to say it again. Where am I blaming her? I am not blaming her. I am only saying that the video said that she was bowling to Virat. Virat has played only that bowling during the lockdown period. It’s a tennis ball, a fun game that people have to pass time during the lockdown. That’s all. Where am I blaming her for Virat’s failures?

“You know me, I am the one who has always batted for wives going with husbands on tour. I am the one that a normal guy going to the office for a 9-5 job, when he comes back home, he comes back to his wife. Similarly, cricketers, when they go out for a tour or even when they are playing at home, why can’t they have their wives with them?

“Because after their working hours are over, they have to get back to their wives like every other common man does. So I am not blaming her.”

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