The suspension of Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul in the recent incident where the two made some insensitive and sexist comments about women in the show 'Coffee with Karan', is going to cost the cricketers more than they probably deserve. That they must be sanctioned for them, as one BCCI official put it “crass remarks” treating women mere objects, there is no doubt. But that the process of sanctioning or punishing the players itself has been delayed due to the non-agreement between the BCCI officials, is what makes one sympathise with the two cricketers.
As soon as the talk show was broadcast in India the players were roundly trolled on the social media. The BCCI took umbrage with the sexist remarks on women and rightly banned the players from participating in any further cricketing activities. Both Pandya and Rahul were recalled from Australia where they could have probably been members of the playing eleven of the Indian team in the first ODI against Australia. They boarded a flight at midnight back to India and Shubman Gill and Vijay Shankar were promptly named as the replacements for the two players.
But in India, the BCCI was not decided on what the sanctions should be. While Vinod Rai, the head administrator of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) thought that a ban for two matches will suffice, Diana Edulji differed with him. She sought a legal opinion, citing allegations of a cover-up otherwise. The legal team suggested the appointment of an ombudsman to decide on the extent to which the players should be punished. Now the problem here is that the Supreme Court of India has appointed most of the officials in the BCCI pending a fair election. Therefore, the ombudsman has to be appointed by the Supreme Court.
However, today the Supreme Court has adjourned the hearing of the appeal and stated that the case will be heard next week. This means that Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul are both effectively out of the India - New Zealand ODI series. What is more, if the sanctions are severe, they are also likely to miss the home series against the Australians beginning late in February. Both the cricketers are in need of some actual match practice if they are to be included in the Indian ODI squad that will head for England in May this year.
Hardik Pandya has not played any serious cricket since the injury which he sustained in the Asia Cup while playing for India in the UAE. He needs to play matches if he is to prove himself both fit and able to accompany the Indian team to the British Isles for the ICC World Cup 2019. If in case these two players miss the ODI’s against Australia, there are only three scheduled ODI’s against Zimbabwe in India, which may not be sufficient time for them to prove their worth to the team. KL Rahul also needs some exposure to ODI’s because his performance over the past thirteen months has not been very convincing. Their fate now lies in the hands of The BCCI officials and the Supreme Court of India.