Sydney: Although no official decision has been taken yet about the exact nature of the punishment they face for their controversial comments on TV show “Koffee with Karan”, Hardik Pandya and K L Rahul will not be part of India’s playing XI for Saturday's ODI series-opener against Australia, as per news agency PTI. A BCCI source was quoted by PTI saying that that Rahul was not considered for selection for the game while Pandya will not feature at least in the game on Saturday.
"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.”
The Indian team is awaiting the BCCI's decision on the possible suspensions Rahul and Pandya. Earlier in the day, Indian captain Virat Kohli said the team doesn't align with the duo's views, calling them individual opinions. However, the Indian captain stressed it doesn't impact the spirit of the side.
"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," Kohli said.
"Definitely it has to hit anyone hard, they will definitely understand the things that have not gone right.
"We, definitely, as the Indian cricket team do not support views like that and that has been communicated. 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 individual views.
"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 individual opinions and something as I said which is inappropriate."
Kohli conceded the uncertainty will make India sweat over their combination, but was confident the balance wouldn't be affected as they had another all-rounder in Ravindra Jadeja.
"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."
On the show, Pandya had boasted about hooking up with multiple women. His comments were slammed as misogynistic, and drew a lot of flak from all corners especially on social media. It prompted the CoA to send a showcause notice to the duo. The all-rounder, in response, said he was sincerely regretful and would not repeat the behaviour.
The CoA chief Vinod Rai then recommended the two-match ban in consultation with the other member Diana Edulji, but a final decision is set to be taken after the latter's formal go-ahead.
“I am not convinced with Hardik’s explanation and I have recommended a two-match ban for both players. However, the final decision will be taken once Diana gives her go ahead,” Rai said.
Meanwhile, Australia named their playing XI for the first ODI, with veteran fast bowler Peter Siddle set to play his first ODI in eight years.
According to Cricket.com.au, Jhye Richardson, Jason Behrendorff and Nathan Lyon will join the 34-year-old Siddle as the four specialist bowlers in the XI.
Finch will partner Alex Carey at the top of the order, with Usman Khawaja named to come in at number three.
The middle order comprises of Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell.
After his surprise recall, Siddle on Thursday had said, "It's something I'd probably forgotten about really.
"I never thought I'd get the opportunity to play one-day cricket for Australia again.
So yeah I feel like a young kid getting this first opportunity, so it's pretty nice to get that phone call and be around the squad and have the potential to play an ODI after a long time away."
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (wk), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Lyon, Peter Siddle, Jhye Richardson, Jason Behrendorff