Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli has said that the freewheeling comments made by Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul on TV show ‘Koffee with Karan’ do not concur with the views held by members in the dressing room and that the "inappropriate" comments reflect poorly on the team spirit that India have managed to nurture over the years.
"We, definitely, as the Indian cricket team, do not support views like that and that has been communicated," Kohli said ahead of the first ODI against Australia at SCG. "I can definitely say that as the Indian cricket team and responsible cricketers we definitely don’t align with those views and those are purely inpidual views.
"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 the two concerned players felt what has gone wrong and they have understood the magnitude of what’s happened. Definitely it has to hit anyone hard, they will definitely understand the things that have not gone right."
As per Committee of Administrators chairman Vinod Rai, explanations provided by Pandya and Rahul weren’t convincing and he, therefore, recommended a two-match ban against the duo. Fellow member Diana Edulji, however, pushed for a legal opinion before deciding on the quantum of punishment for them. This puts their availability for the first ODI at SCG in the balance as this comes less than 24 hours before the start of play.
"We are still waiting for a decision to be made but from the Indian cricket team point of view, this changes nothing in terms of our beliefs in the change room. It does nothing to the spirit that we’ve been able to create within the change room and these are purely inpidual opinions and something as I said which is inappropriate."
In case the two players are unavailable, India will have to revise its team combination last-minute, especially given the balance Pandya provides as a pace-bowling all-rounder.
"You just need to sit back and wait and watch them unfold. From the combination and team balance point of view, yes, you’ll have to think about the combination you’ll need now," Kohli said. "You don’t have control over these things so you have to address it the way it unfolds. That’s how we are looking at it, the combinations will have to be looked at when the decision comes out and from there on we’ll see what needs to be done about the whole situation."
Meanwhile, Hotstar – the streaming service for Star Network – has pulled down the episode following the controversy.