The Committee of Administrators (CoA) is mulling a behavioural counselling programme for the Indian team in the wake of the furore over K L Rahul and Hardik Pandya’s sexist comments. The BCCI has suspended the two cricketers and their fate will be decided by an ombudsman, which will be appointed by the Supreme Court. The programme will also include all the age-group national teams and the A squads.
“The Indian senior team as well as the Emerging, A teams and U-19s will have behavioural counselling session at the National Cricket Academy (NCA). The course will deal with every aspect of a professional sportsperson’s life. There will also be sessions on gender sensitivity,” a senior BCCI official, privy to the development, told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
When asked whether Rahul and Pandya will attend gender sensitization classes separately, the official responded in the negative. The duo faced severe backlash for making inappropriate comments on women during a chat show, Koffee With Karan, hosted by Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar.
“There will be no separate sessions for Rahul and Pandya. The entire Indian team will attend sessions and these two boys, as centrally contracted cricketers, will attend the same,” he said. Incidentally, the board’s treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry, in his observations after the Pandya-Rahul episode, had also suggested that young players undergo gender sensitivity programme so that they are well equipped to face the spotlight when they get into top flight.
Despite having a choc-a-bloc schedule, the senior team will attend a few sessions but the course will be more relevant for India’s U-19 cricketers, who are being thrust into spotlight with IPL riches coming their way even before they are 20. “Players like 17-year-olds Prabh Simran Singh (Rs 4.8 crore for KXIP) or Prayas Ray Burman (Rs 1.6 crore for RCB) have become overnight millionaires even before playing a single Ranji match. There should be life coaches, who would counsel them,” a former India player said.
It is still not confirmed whether a group of individuals will separately conduct the training programme or any particular company will be outsourced. It has also been learnt that lawyer Veena Gowda, who had recommended gender sensitization classes for CEO Rahul Johri, has been requested to suggest names of the company/individual for conducting the sessions.
Johri was given a clean chit by a three-member panel, which included Gowda, with regards to multiple allegations of sexual harassment against him. “Initially, CoA chief Vinod Rai had asked former Internal Complaints Committee head Kareena Kripalani to set the ball rolling and get a company with expertise on such programmes to conduct sessions,” said the official.
“However Edulji, who of late has differed on every issue with Rai, refused to agree as her contention was that Kripalani directly reports to the CEO. She had suggested that Veena Gowda, who had recommended gender sensitization classes decide on relevant organisation or individual,” the official said.