World of cricket hardly goes a week without a controversy that gets the whole cricket fraternity and the nation talking. Past few days have been one of these days only when a controversy started with a ‘seemingly harmless’ comment but now has become so big that former players, media and public had to jump in to give their opinions. Needless to say that opinions are varied and sides are divided. Before we go into the details, we need to know about the parties involved and why a “sweeping comment” became so important. The controversy involves Sunil Gavaskar, former Indian player, legendary in his own rights and Anushka Sharma, Indian actress and India’s skipper, Virat Kohli’s wife. Just the introduction is enough to tell you how high profile the controversy is. Both the parties involved in this verbal fight claim huge respect and love from the nation and own huge fandom. Now, the problem is, as it always happens on social media, heat has reached their fans and they are ready to burn down the internet with that heat. Let’s have a look at the chronology of the events.
CLOSE UP ON THE CONTROVERSY
There are two contexts for the fans to understand before they can try to understand what happened on the day of the controversy. It was the day when Royal Challengers Bangalore were competing against Kings XI Punjab. RCB was chasing the target of 207 runs and situation for RCB wasn’t looking good. RCB was 3/2 and this was the moment when Kohli walked into the field to bat. Virat had just started to play and had scored only one run off 3 balls. The controversy did not start on the field but in the commentary booth. Gavaskar was doing his usual job when he made a passing comment on less than an impressive performance by Kohli so far. Now it is the time for the second context. Gavaskar referred to the video that had gone viral in May. Virat and Anushka were playing cricket in that video. It was a video shot by a fan, shot from a neighbouring high rise. The fan found this moment to be cute and was happy to see Kohli playing after so long.
Now we come back to the present day where Gawaskar chose to refer to that video and said that Virat had been in the habit of playing to Anushka’s bowling and that practice would not work on the field. This passing comment on the batting skills of the skipper with reference to his spouse did not go well with Anushka Sharma. She posted a long message for the former player on her social media story. She expressed her disappointment over the comment and also demanded respect from the commentator. As per her, the years have changed but the way cricket fraternity treats her is still the same. Sharma said that it is high time that her private life is kept separate from her husband’s professional life.
GAWASKAR’S DENIAL AND FAROKH’ SUPPORT
After Anushka’s message to Gavaskar, fans divided into sides. There are few who believe that Gawaskar’s remark was in bad taste and he shouldn’t have done that. Some even go to the extent of saying that his remark was sexist. Then there is that one side of the fans which believes that there was nothing wrong with the former cricketer’s remark. Gavaskar himself thinks that the remark wasn’t sexist at all. He said defending his comment that he stated what he saw on the video. Gavaskar stated, “Where am I blaming her? Where am I being sexist in this?” He even gragger fellow commentator Aakash Chopra in this matter to support his side of the argument. Gavaskar said that the comment that is being talked about, was related to the “rustiness” of the players as they did not have much time to practice for the IPL. Many cricketers showed that lack of practice on the field and Virat was one of them.
Amongst the ones who believe that the comment was only a joke and had nothing to do with blaming “a wife for her husband’s game”, are many celebrities too. These celebrities have come out in the open to defend Gavaskar. Farokh Engineer seems to think that the comment was not made to make Virat and Anushka feel bad. It was a humorous comment and should be taken in that spirit. He also blamed Indians’ lack of humour because of which many couldn’t understand the joke. He said, “We, Indians lack a sense of humour.” Don’t you think to find fault with the entire nation’s sense of humour is a big step to take to save someone from the fraternity? Has Farokh made another “sweeping comment” to save Gawaskar from one?
Well, Farokh could understand Gawaskar’s condition better than anyone else as he had been guilty of making such a comment himself. During 2019 ICC World Cup Farokh said that the Indian selectors had done nothing in England except getting Anushka “cups of tea”. Farokh feels that both the comments, his and Gawaskar’s were blown out of proportion. Though now the things are out of hands and the matter is spilled all over the social media. There are people calling out Gawaskar for being sexist and there are who believe him to be joking. Anushka is not happy with the comment that is known to the world now but we have not heard anything from the husband Kohli yet. He had kept mum on the matter. We can assume that he believes Anushka to fight and win her own battles or Gawaskar is too big a legend for Kohli to make a remark about him. Whatever the case be, Anushka and Gawaskar sure are going to hear a lot of comments before it becomes a matter of the past.