Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul are undoubtedly the future of Indian cricket in the years to come. At the age of 25 and 26 respectively, both still have a long mile to achieve with the abundance of promise and talent that they have. Rahul currently being out of form in recent times has to be consistent in the near future, while Pandya is coming back from a long injury layoff for the Australian one-day series.
Their recent appearance on a popular talk show 'Koffee with Karan' hosted by Karan Johar has created a whirlwind storm in the social media, as Hardik came out being very outspoken and KL Rahul although being mild-mannered on the show, complemented Pandya's outlandishness during the show.
Pandya's comments on women have been attributed very crass by the COA chief Vinod Rai, who has recommended the ban of two ODI matches on both the players. Diana Edulji the other half of COA has although referred the matter to the legal cell as to whether the duo can be banned for this behaviour.
This comes after Pandya has already apologized for his 'regretful' behaviour. He further stated that there was no ill-intent on his part to offend anyone or portray any section of the society in a bad light. Pandya has also posted an apology on his Instagram feed. While KL Rahul has so far not commented anything publicly on this whole controversy.
So what are the reasons that they should not be banned? Firstly, the format of the show is such that it is pretty evident that both of them got highly carried away on the couch. They didn't comprehend the extent to which their statements would be found offensive.
Secondly, their primary job is playing cricket and appearing on talk shows is not something they are well versed with, as compared to Bollywood celebrities whose day to day work is acting in front of the camera. Their comments on the show are clearly evident that they have a lot to learn while speaking on national television, considering that they are the role model for a lot of youngsters in our country.
Thirdly, both of them will learn a lot more from a stern reprimand or a heavy fine on them by the BCCI for their outlandishness. Banning them will set a wrong example where they and the other cricketers in future will be afraid of what they speak in public and we might never be able to hear their true self-speaking out in the open.
The need of the hour is to sensitize the players on how they should behave publicly and not ban them on the whim and anger of the general public. Their past records should be taken into consideration as well while making such decisions.
Remember a young annoyed Kohli in 2012, had made the middle finger gesture to the abusive crowd in Australia. The match referee instead of banning him, penalized 50% of his match fees as he understood that being young and in the flow of the match the error was committed by him. Kohli today considers that as a big example of his learning as a better person.
Therefore, better learning to both of them would be more beneficial to their growth as cricketers as well as being an able person on and off the field.