India captain Virat Kohli Friday distanced his team from controversial comments deemed sexist by all-rounder Hardik Pandya on a TV chat show that sparked social media outrage.
Pandya bragged about his prowess with women during an interview on the Indian show that also involved opening batsman KL Rahul, sparking concern about the culture within the squad.
The programme, Koffee with Karan, is hosted by Bollywood producer and director Karan Johar who encourages guests to open up on personal matters.
“After reflecting on my comments on Koffee with Karan, I would like to apologize to everyone concerned who I may have hurt in any way,” Pandya said on Twitter.
Both players were ordered to explain themselves by the Board of Control for Cricket in India and face suspension with the furore overshadowing the team’s upcoming one-day series against Australia, starting in Sydney on Saturday.
Kohli was pressed on the matter in a pre-game media conference and made clear the comments were not acceptable. “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,” he said.
Kohli added that the two players “have understood the magnitude of what’s happened”. “Definitely it has to hit hard, they will definitely understand the things that have not gone right.
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Indian cricket chiefs on Wednesday said the two players had been given 24 hours to explain themselves, with Pandya already posting an apology on social media. “After reflecting on my comments on Koffee with Karan, I would like to apologize to everyone concerned who I may have hurt in any way,” Pandya said on Twitter.
“Honestly, I got a bit carried away with the nature of the show. In no way did I mean to disrespect or hurt anyone’s sentiments. Respect,” he added. Pandya, who was in the squad that beat Australia for the first time in an away Test series, boasted about his success with multiple women.
“You are just watching and observing how (women) move, as I said I am a little from the black side (influenced by West Indies culture) so I have to see how they move first,” he said. Pandya also said he had bragged to his parents after losing his virginity.
It remains unclear whether he will play on Saturday, proving another headache for Kohli with the seam-bowling all-rounder usually an automatic pick. India will play three one-dayers against Australia after winning their first ever Test series in the country 2-1.
© Agence France-Presse