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Indian team doesn't support Pandya, Rahul comments on women: Kohli

Saturday, January 12, 2019
By Chetan Narula

Sydney: Captain Virat Kohli on Friday said the Indian team doesn't stand by Hardik Pandya and K L Rahul for making "inappropriate" comments on women during a TV show but insisted that the controversy won't affect the dressing room morale.

Kohli said that the availability of both Pandya and Rahul for the ODI series against Australia would depend on any action that the BCCI might take on Friday. "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...And that has been communicated (to the two players)," said Kohli on the eve of the ODI series opener against Australia.

"...We definitely don't align with those views and those are purely individual views. The two concerned players (have) felt what has gone wrong and they have understood the magnitude of what's happened."

Kohli admitted the the two players have been hit hard by the controversy. "...They will definitely understand the things that have not gone right. We are still waiting for a decision to be made," he said. When asked if this had an impact on the dressing room after a first-ever Test series' win in Australia, and if it causes a distraction as the Men in Blue start their preparation towards the 2019 World Cup, Kohli said, "Whatever has happened is unfortunate but there are certain things that are out of your control.  You just need to sit back and wait and watch them unfold. From the combination and team balance point of view, yes when something like that happens you will have to think of what is the combination you need to go in with now."

The Committee of Administrators chief Vinod Rai on Thursday recommended a two-ODI ban on Pandya and Rahul but fellow COA member Diana Edulji referred the matter to the BCCI's legal cell.

Kohli said the team remains in high spirits following the unprecedented success in the recently concluded Test series. “You don't have control over these things so you have to adjust with the situation... The combinations will have to be thought about once the decision comes out (from the BCCI) and from there on...," he said.

"It does nothing to the spirit that we've been able to create within the change room and these are purely individual opinions and something which as I said is inappropriate," Kohli added.

Pandya, Rahul out from first ODI amid recommendation of suspension
India will not be fielding Hardik Pandya and K L Rahul in Saturday's ODI series-opener against Australia after Committee of Administrators (CoA) member Diana Edulji recommended a suspension pending inquiry for their controversial comments on women during a TV show.

A BCCI source told PTI that Rahul was not considered for selection while Pandya will not feature at least in the game on Saturday. A final decision on the matter is still awaited.

"The team management has told Pandya that he is not playing tomorrow as they are yet to get a final directive. Rahul, in any case, wasn't in contention for a first XI berth," said a source close to the development.

"The team management is waiting for an official communication on whether there is a provisional suspension and if they will be sent back," he added.

On Thursday, COA chief Vinod Rai recommended a two-match ban for Pandya and Rahul but colleague Edulji referred the matter to BCCI's legal team.

On Friday, Edulji called for suspension of the two players pending inquiry after the BCCI legal team refused to declare their outrage-evoking comments on women a violation of the code of conduct.

In the pre-match media interaction, India captain Virat Kohli condemned the comments made by Pandya and Rahul, calling them "inappropriate".

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