Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has cleared the air surrounding his comments on Virat Kohli and wife Anushka Sharma, saying his statements have been received the wrong way and that he never intended on being a ‘sexist’. Gavaskar stirred controversy when on air, he made a comment involving Kohli’s actor wife Anushka. This was after Kohli had dropped two catches and looked scratchy while batting.
This is what Gavaskar had said: “Ab jo lockdown tha toh unhone sirf Anushka ke saath bowling ki practice ki hai, usse toh kuch bhi nahi banna (During the lockdown, he has only practiced against Anushka’s bowling. Nothing was to come out of it.).”
It led to a Twitter meltdown with users slamming Gavaskar for crossing a line. Anushka herself took to social media and expressed her disappointment with the remarks through a post on Instagram.
Gavaskar, on Friday, expressed his side of the story, explaining how his comments were ‘twisted’ and whatever he said regarding Kohli stemmed from the fact that none of the senior India players were finding it easy to bat in the IPL due to lack of match practice.
“As you hear from the commentary, Aakash and I were doing commentary for the Hindi channel. And Aakash was talking about the fact that there has been very little chance for proper practice for everybody. That has actually shown in the rustiness of some of the players in their first matches. Rohit didn’t strike the ball well in his first match, MSD didn’t strike the ball well, Virat also didn’t strike the ball. Most of the batsmen have because of the lack of practice,” Gavaskar told India Today.
“That was the point that was being made. Virat also had no practice and the only practice that they had when they were seen them playing in their building compound and Anushka was bowling to him. That’s what I said. That’s the only bowling, I have not used any other word. She was bowling to him, that’s all. Where am I blaming her? Where am I being sexist in this? I am just stating what was seen in the video which was maybe recorded by somebody in the neighbouring buildings and then put up. That’s the only thing I am doing.”
It is not the first time Anushka has been blamed for Kohli’s failure with the bat. In 2015, when India were eliminated from the 2015 World Cup in the semifinal with Kohli scoring 1, his performances were linked to Anushka. Later on, in October of last, a comment made by former India wicketkeeper Farokh Engineer, which claimed that “One of the selectors was serving tea to Anushka Sharma during the 2019 World Cup” triggered a storm.
Gavaskar said his comments weren’t aimed to blame the actor and that it was just a mere reference. “The point I am trying to make is that there was no practice for anybody, including Virat in the lockdown. I am not being sexist. If somebody, has interpreted it, what can I do?” he said.
“I would like to say it again. Where am I blaming her? I am not blaming her. I am only saying that the video said that she was bowling to Virat. Virat has played only that bowling during the lockdown period. It’s a tennis ball, a fun game that people have to pass time during the lockdown. That’s all. Where am I blaming her for Virat’s failures?”
Gavaskar even said he would never cross the line as he himself has been a believer of cricketers’ wives travelling with them on tours.
“You know me, I am the one who has always batted for wives going with husbands on tour. I am the one that a normal guy going to the office for a 9-5 job, when he comes back home, he comes back to his wife. Similarly, cricketers, when they go out for a tour or even when they are playing at home, why can’t they have their wives with them?” Gavaskar added.
“Because after their working hours are over, they have to get back to their wives like every other common man does. So, I am not blaming her.”