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CoA chairman Vinod Rai recommends two-ODI ban for Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul over TV show remark

Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul were issued showcause notice by the BCCI following their statements on the popular TV show Koffee with Karan.

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Kolkata |
Updated: January 11, 2019 8:57:59 am
MeToo, Hardik Pandya, sexism, Koffee with Karan, KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya appeared on Koffee with Karan. (Source: Instagram)

The Committee of Administrator (CoA) chairman Vinod Rai has found the comments made by Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul on the Karan Johar talk show “very crass”, recommending a two-match suspension for both players. He has asked the BCCI chief executive Rahul Johri to draft the instruction subject to fellow CoA member Diana Edulji’s approval. Pandya is in the Indian squad for the upcoming three-match ODI series in Australia, commencing on Saturday.

“I have seen the remarks made by these two players on the show in print today (Thursday). Very crass. No apology can cover it. I had asked Diana to suggest penalty because I had not seen the clip. I think we need to give both of them a two match suspension. If Diana agrees, Rahul please draft an appropriate instruction and issue today as their explanations have come in,” Rai wrote in his email, adding: “Separately please prepare an advisory to all BCCI contracted players and support staff.”

Edulji, meanwhile, has asked the BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary and the cricket board’s legal team to send in their opinion.

The CoA had yesterday show-caused Pandya and Rahul for their comments on the talk show that were considered misogynistic and racially insensitive. The cricketers were given 24 hours to respond, to which Pandya offered his “regrets”. He had also posted an apology on Twitter.

Rai found Pandya’s apology insincere, drafted by an agency. “The apology has obviously been drafted by the agency. Doesn’t appear sincere. I am inclined to suggest a penalty. But since I have not seen the clip, maybe Diana would like to suggest some penalty. There should be a penalty? What do you feel? Could be different for both players depending upon what they have said in the show,” Rai had written to Edulji and Johri on Wednesday.

Pandya had attached the screenshots of his “public apology” on social media, along with response to the BCCI show-cause notice. In the talk show, aired on January 6, the Indian team allrounder had said: “I like to watch and observe how they move. I’m little from the black side so I need to see how they move”, when he was asked, ‘why don’t you ask women’s names at nightclubs’?

His response to the BCCI notice was one of “regrets”. “I made an appearance on the chat show where I have made certain statements without realising that these could be disrespectful and offend sensitivities of viewers for which I am sincerely regretful,” Pandya said, adding: “I would like to assure you that there was no malice or any sort of ill-intent on my part to offend anyone or portray any section of the society in bad light.” He vowed not to repeat the behaviour.

The CoA so far has kept BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry out of the loop in the whole issue. But Chaudhary has written an email to Edulji, expressing his views on the subject. He ‘cc-ed’ the mail to Rai, Choudhary, acting president CK Khanna, Johri a couple of other cricket board staff.

“I agree with Mr. Rai that the comments are very crass and also that the apology appears insincere. I appreciate the step by Ms. Diana Edulji to seek the views of the legal team as it is absolutely essential that the correct procedure is followed in dealing with this situation,” Chaudhary wrote in his mail.

He reminded the persons concerned that how a faulty procedure might hurt the BCCI. “… a faulty procedure would mean risking that the decision is vitiated ab-initio (from the beginning) as was the case in the matter pertaining to the Madhavan Committee in the Match-Fixing matter in 2000 and in the matter pertaining to the 2013 IPL (spot-fixing) issue where the findings of a committee consisting of two former High Court Judges were held to be void and which culminated into the proceedings that led to the appointment of the Justice Mudgal Committee and subsequently the Justice Lodha Committee. Therefore, it is crucial that the correct process is followed.”

Chaudhary has also drawn a parallel between the ongoing controversy involving Pandya and Rahul and the Cricket Australia’s (CA) decision to ban Steve Smith and David Warner for bringing the game into disrepute.

“The players who appeared on the show have definitely brought the game and Indian cricket and cricketers into disrepute by their words and admitted conduct. The consequences for bringing the game of cricket into disrepute are definitely something which will have to be considered.

If I remember correctly, Mr. Warner and Mr. Smith were banned for a year for bringing the game into disrepute and in conducting themselves in the manner that they did. While the ICC punished Mr. Smith for the offence of tampering with the condition of the ball with the maximum sanction available of a one Test ban, Cricket Australia banned him for a year. It would be pertinent to note that the Committee of Administrators had, in those facts and circumstances, also taken the decision to ban those players for the IPL 2018,” Chaudhry wrote.

According to him, a two-match suspension for Pandya and Rahul would be a mere “stop-gap”, as the CoA had banned Smith and Warner for an entire IPL season. Chaudhary, also, has asked for an immediate suspension of the players, “pending a proper inquiry”…

Pandya, Rahul can be targeted by fixers

Mumbai: The BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry feels that Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul, after their comments on the talk show, might be targeted by match-fixing syndicates known for laying “honey traps”. Chaudhry in his email correspondence to the CoA wrote: “The comments such as the ones that have been made would definitely have painted a large, red target on the back of the players for potential recruiters for the organized syndicates who attempt to indulge in match-fixing across the globe.

The very first caution that the ICC Anti-Corruption officers give in briefing to the players is to beware of situations of honey traps and the comments made on the show make it seem that the players may just be ripe for the plucking.” —ENS

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