In England, while they slumped to a humbling 3-1 Test series defeat, India’s slip fielders dropped every second catch that came their way, and their top two batsmen were dismissed the same way on almost every occasion. The repercussions of that will be felt now by the players’ wives and girlfriends.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has now decided that girlfriends will no longer be allowed on tour and there will also be restrictions on the duration of the wives’ stay.
Virat Kohli, who has come under severe criticism for his repeated failures in the Test series, had been given clearance by the board to take his girlfriend, Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma, along for the England tour.
A top BCCI official said the board will now decide how long cricketers’ wives will get to stay with their husbands during overseas tours.
“The England tour has been an eye-opener for everyone. From whatever information we have gathered, it’s been seen that even if players wanted to focus on their cricket, their wives were being a big distraction. When some wanted to go to the gym or do nets, they couldn’t do so because their wives wanted to explore the city. So we have planned that after this England series, we will curb the number of days the wives spend with their husbands on tour,” the official told The Indian Express.
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Previously, the players would have to apply for permission from the board to allow their spouses or girlfriends to travel along with them. Some players do book separate rooms for the wives but it ends up being the BCCI’s responsibility to make sure they are provided with proper seating arrangements at the stadium.
But post-England, the players will be at the BCCI’s behest when it comes to making travel plans with their wives while a tour is on. In a way, the Indian board will be following the precedent set by Cricket Australia and the England & Wales Cricket Board, who generally fix a slot during a long tour where the players’ WAGs can join them.
“These are some of the issues we wanted to address to see that the Indian team gets back on track. Whatever happened has happened, we want our boys to be more focused on their cricket from hereon,” the source added.
For the England tour, the BCCI had granted permission to Cheteshwar Pujara, Murali Vijay, R Ashwin, Stuart Binny and Gautam Gambhir to bring their wives along. This is in addition to the consent given to Kohli.
But not only did India fare poorly towards the latter half of the series, the team was also criticised heavily for displaying a lack of professionalism and team ethic.
Experts like former India captain Sunil Gavaskar even questioned on national television the discipline of some of the players during the tour, claiming, “If you do not want to be playing Test cricket for India, quit.”