Veteran cricketer Sunil Gavaskar on September 25 was caught in the midst of a controversy for his remarks about Virat Kohli and his wife actor Anushka Sharma during his commentary at an IPL match between RCB and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP).
Social media and several news outlets claimed that Gavaskar had made a 'distasteful' remark on Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli and his wife Anushka Sharma during live commentary.
News outlets like Asianet News, Mumbai Mirror, DNA India among others quoted the former cricketer as saying, "Inhone lockdown me toh bas Anushka ki gendon ki practice ki hai," suggesting he made a double entendre. Media it seems reported it without actually seeing the entire video.
The English translation of this quote is in poor taste.
In fact Actor Anushka Sharma herself put out a statement calling out Gavaskar for "accusing a wife" for her husband's game.
"Mr. Gavaskar your message is distasteful is a fact but I would love for you to explain why you thought of making such a sweeping statement on a wife accusing her for her husband's game?," she wrote.
Sunil Gavaskar during live commentary on Virat Kohli's performance targeted wife Anuskha Sharma and made a distasteful comment.
The claim is false.
The live footage of the match clearly shows that keyboard warriors and the media outlets grossly misquoted Gavaskar. Virat Kohli in Friday's match had dropped two catches of KXIP's KL Rahul in the first innings. Kohli also got out for 1 while trying to hook KXIP's bowler, Sheldon Cottrell.
Below is the entire exchange as heard in the live footage:
Aakash Chopra: Sunny bhai, 6-8 Mahina Cricket Na Khelna Asaan Nahi Hota Hai. (Sunny bhai, not playing cricket for 6-8 months, it is not easy.)
Sunil Gavaskar: Bilkul. (Absolutely)
Sunil Gavaskar: Jo Practice jarurat hoti hai, wo unko karne ka mauka hi nahi mila, Aur wo bade..chahte ki jitni wo practice kare utni wo..usi se to wo behtar ban sakte hai, wo khud jaante hai.
Sunil Gavaskar: Ab jo lockdown tha to sirf Anushka ki bowling ki practice ki unhone, wo dikhai…wo video dekhi hai..Us se to kuch nahi banna hai..
(He [Kohli] didn't get a chance to undertake the necessary practice. He knows that the more he practices, he'll improve. When the lockdown happened, he only practised against Anuskha's bowling, we have seen the video, but nothing is going to come of that.)
Aakash Chopra: Haan wo unke apartment me practice kar rahe the, itni bhi privacy nahi hai, saath wale building se uska bhi video le liya. (He was practising in his apartment. There is no privacy at all. (People in the) nearby building also shot a video of it.)
Below is the video that is being referred to by Gavaskar:
Therefore, it is clear that Gavaskar's comments were not distasteful or sexist. It is also clear he did not blame Sharma for her husband's performance.
In an interview with India Today, Gavaskar while talking about the incident said, "Firstly, 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, fun game that people have to pass time during the lockdown. That's all. Where am I blaming her for Virat's failures?"
Back in 2016, The former India captain had blasted at all those who had trolled the actor by linking her to Virat Kohli's on-field performance after every India match, terming them "frustros" with no love in their lives.
"All I can say is that they are frustros. I don't have an idea of the status of their relationship. But she is a lovely girl and they looked absolutely terrific together. And she brought a lot of stability in him at a time when he was just emerging as a lynchpin of India's batting. He himself has said that she has brought a lot of positivity in his life and career," NDTV had quoted Gavaskar as saying.
"For people to say that she was sitting in the stands and he got out. What would he get? he doesn't get to see her if he gets out on the first ball. He can't go out from the dressing room and meet her up over there. So, all I can say is they are frustros and they have no love in their lives, and therefore, they are taking it out on the poor girl, who has been there, been a support and backed him. In my opinion, she has only helped him grow as a human being and as a cricketer," he had further added.
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