Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar on Friday said he did not blame Anushka Sharma when he said the Bollywood actor was bowling to Virat Kohli during the lockdown while being on-air during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab in Dubai. Gavaskar wondered why he is being blamed for making ‘sexist’ remarks when he only described what he saw in a video that went viral during the lockdown.
Sunil Gavaskar’s comments were misquoted and a derogatory tone was associated with the comment following which it went viral on social media, leading to a severe backlash against the former cricketer and commentator.
“Ab jo lockdown tha toh unhone sirf Anushka ki bowling ki practice ki hai, wo video dekhi hai, usse toh kuch bhi nahi banna (During the recent lockdown he only practised to Anushka’s bowling, I saw a video. But that is not going to be enough),” Gavaskar was heard saying on-air when Virat Kohli was batting in the middle.
Minutes later, Virat Kohli got out for 1 while trying to hook Sheldon Cottrell in RCB’s failed chase of 207. RCB went on to lose their second match of IPL 2020 by 97 runs.
Bollywood actor Anushka Sharma responded to the comment with an Instagram message. The actor, whose name has unnecessarily been dragged into the controversies over Virat Kohli’s performances in the past, was miffed over her name being used to make a ‘sweeping comment’ once again.
Gavaskar’s response to Anushka’s Instagram post
Speaking to India Today on Friday, Gavaskar responded to Anushka Sharma’s Instagram post. The former India captain asserted that he had not blamed Anushka and there was no sexist tone to his comment as well.
“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?” Gavaskar said.
“You know me, I am the one who has always batted for wives going with husbands on tour. I am the one that a normal guy going to the office for a 9-5 job, when he comes back home, he comes back to his wife. Similarly, cricketers, when they go out for a tour or even when they are playing at home, why can’t they have their wives with them?
“Because after their working hours are over, they have to get back to their wives like every other common man does. So I am not blaming her.”
What did Anushka say in her Instagram post addressed to Gavaskar?
Earlier, in the day, Anushka Sharma came up with a strongly-worded Instagram post, expressing disappointment at Gavaskar’s comments.
“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? I am sure over the years you have respected the private lives of every cricketer while commentating on the game. “
“Don’t you think you should have equal amount of respect for me and us?
“I am sure you can have many other words and sentences in your mind to use to comment on my husband’s performance from last night or are your words only relevant if you use my name in the process?
“It’s 2020 and things still don’t change for me. When will I stop getting dragged into cricket and stop being used to pass sweeping comments?
“Respected Mr. Gavaskar, you are legend whose name stands tall in this gentleman’s game. Just wanted to tell you what I felt when I heard you say this.”