India vs Australia: Suspended Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul sent home to face probe
Cricketers Hardik Pandya and K L Rahul will be sent back to India immediately to face a committee set up to probe their "inappropriate" comments on women on a television chat show. The quantum of punishment they will face, after being suspended for their remarks on the show Koffee with Karan, will be decided after they present their case to the panel.
Earlier, Captain Virat Kohli said the Indian team does not stand by Pandya and Rahul for making "inappropriate" comments on women but insisted that the controversy won't affect the dressing room morale. "From the Indian cricket team point of view, any inappropriate comments that are made in that scenario are something that we definitely don't support…and that has been communicated (to the two players)," he said at the pre-match press conference before the ODI series opener against Australia.
Diana Edulji, a member of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA), told The Indian Express: "How can you expect them to be with the Indian team now? They will fly back home." No time frame has been set yet to deliver a verdict against the two but the probe committee will first watch the complete episode and speak to the players before deciding whether to hand out the same punishment to both or treat them differently.
Though CoA chief Vinod Rai had earlier suggested a two-match ban, Edulji had stressed on following due procedure by first suspending the players before forming an inquiry committee. The Indian cricket board's old Constitution had a disciplinary committee but its new Constitution does not. The BCCI doesn't even have an ombudsman either.
Sources said that the board is contemplating the idea of involving the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), but it is unclear whether the CAC has any legal standing to deal with the issue.
"We have followed all procedure before suspending them. An email has been sent to players. We don't know how much time it will take for the probe to get over, we don't know what the quantum of punishment will be. We will be meeting soon to decide who will be part of the probe panel or the committee to look into this suspension. These players will have to be present whenever the probe committee calls them," said Edulji.
Pandya and Rahul's remarks sparked outrage after they made a slew of remarks on women on Koffee with Karan, some of which hinted at the team culture. Asked which of the two had "done it" in a teammate's room in the show's rapid-fire segment, both Pandya and Rahul pointed to themselves. Johar quipped "who is this team-mate who's being so accommodating?" to which Rahul replied: "There are many. Acche log hain, that's the best thing about being in a team sport."
Johar then asked who had "gone above and beyond to 'connect' with a fan after the match?" Rahul explained how he meets fans after matches, takes them out for coffee, prompting Johar to clarify, "not that way "connect". And Rahul's reply: "Oh that way? Yeah, I have".
Earlier on the show, Johar asked Rahul to recount the "very sweet" story of how he partied until 5 am and smashed a century in a T20 against West Indies at Fort Lauderdale. "We were playing in Miami," said Rahul. "I didn't think I would be playing the next day, they hadn't informed me. So I thought, hell I am in Miami. What am I gonna do? I don't have to be fresh. We were just gonna go for dinner and the place turned into a party place after 12 and then I didn't feel like going back and came back at 5. Next day, 9 o'clock they told me you're playing. I am not proud of that, I'm proud of the hundred."