Bollywood actor Anushka Sharma, wife of Indian captain Virat Kohli, launched a blistering attack on former wicket-keeper Farokh Engineer, who had said that she was seen being served tea by an Indian selector during the World Cup in England. In an Instagram post, Anushka said: “The latest version of these ill-intended lies is that I was being served tea by selectors at matches during the World Cup! I came to one game during the World Cup and sat in the family box and not the selector’s box as reported but when has the truth mattered when it’s about convenience!” Engineer had ridiculed the credentials of India’s five-member selection panel, led by MSK Prasad and comprising Sarandeep Singh, Jatin Paranjpe, Gagan Khoda and Devang Gandhi, terming them ‘Mickey Mouse Selection Committee.’
“If you want to have a comment on the selection committee and their qualifications please do so as it’s your opinion but don’t drag my name into it to substantiate your claim or sensationalize your opinion. I refuse to allow anyone from using my name in such conversations,” was her retort to Engineer’s claims.
— Anushka Sharma (@AnushkaSharma) October 31, 2019
In her post, the 31-year-old laments that her silence in the face of negative news reports and being blamed for her husband Kohli’s performance have led to lies allegedly being perceived as truth. “My name has been used in fabricated stories claiming I was part of closed-door meetings and influenced the selection process and I kept quiet,” Anushka writes. She clarified she pays on her own while travelling with Virat and she was asked by the wife of the High Commissioner to the UK to pose with Team India for a photo that was taken in London four months ago. She says she is speaking up now because ‘someone’s silence cannot be taken as their weakness.’ The actor has urged for ‘proof and facts’ when her ‘name is used’ and asserted that the media ‘leave (her) out of it.’ She ends subtly: “And for the record, I drink coffee.”
Petty talk, says MSK
Prasad, while speaking on behalf of his colleagues, rubbished Engineer’s allegations. “During the World Cup, none of the selectors were sitting in the box where the Indian captain’s wife sat and this is an absolutely rubbish, malicious and defamatory assertion,” Prasad told PTI. ”I feel sad for someone deriving sadistic pleasure out of indulging in petty talk, thereby demeaning and disrespecting the selectors and the wife of Indian captain through frivolous allegations,” he asserted.”Let’s not forget that this selection committee has been appointed by BCCI through a proper process in an AGM,” he added.
Engineer’s U-turn: ‘Said it in jest’
Following the outrage on Sharma’s Instagram post, Engineer made a U-turn on Thursday, apologizing to Sharma. In an interview with The Republic TV, the 82-year-old said: “I just said it in jest and a mountain is being made out of a molehill. Poor Anushka has been dragged into it, she is a lovely girl. Virat Kohli is a brilliant captain and coach Ravi Shastri is extremely good.”
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