India vs Australia 2018-19 1st ODI: Virat Kohli has finally broke his silence over the major controversy that has erupted after Team India cricketers – Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul made an appearance on a popular TV talk show – Koffee With Karan. The Indian captain slammed all-rounder Hardik Pandya and opener KL Rahul for the sexist and misogynistic comments they made during the talk show.
Kohli also made it clear that controversial comments made by Pandya and Rahul which has left them facing a suspension, are not acceptable and the personal opinions are not the view of the India team. “We as the Indian cricket team and responsible cricketers don’t align with those views, those were individual opinions,” Kohli said at a press conference ahead of the first ODI against Australia in Sydney.
Pandya and Rahul appeared on a talk show on Sunday where their comments – Pandya’s in particular – came in for widespread criticism and raised concerns over the team culture. The BCCI issued the players a show cause notice to which Pandya responded with an apology to the board.
“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. Definitely, it has to hit anyone hard, they will definitely understand the things that have not gone right,” the 30-year old added.
The Indian team management will have to wait on the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) decision on Pandya and Rahul before arriving at a conclusion on their final playing XI for the first match of the three-ODI series against Australia.
“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 which is inappropriate.”
Kohli acknowledged the outcome of the process may require the team to rethink their plans, but was confident that with Ravindra Jadeja in the squad, they had the options to cover for Pandya even though Jadeja is a spin-bowling allrounder.
“From the combination and team balance point of view, yes, you’ll have to think about the combination you’ll need now,” Kohli said. “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.”