Veteran cricketer Sunil Gavaskar has been facing flak time for making a comment about Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma while commentating in a Royal Challengers Bengaluru match.
While commenting on the Indian as well as RCB captain and Sharma’s husband Virat Kohli, Gavaskar said, during the lockdown, Virat has been practicing with Anushka.
The comment caused massive outrage with many calling for Gavaskar’s dismissal from the commentary box for the rest of the 2020’s IPL season. Even Anushka Sharma took to social media to put out a statement, blasting Gavaskar for his crass observations.
The veteran cricketer has since clarified that he was talking about a video of Sharma and Kohli playing cricket at home which had gone viral during the lockdown.
“As you hear from the commentary, Aakash (Chopra) and I were doing commentary for the Hindi channel. And Aakash was talking about the fact that there has been very little chance for proper practice for everybody. That has actually shown in the rustiness of some of the players in their first matches,” Gavaskar told India Today.
He stressed on the fact that he was not trying to be sexist but that he was actually stressing on the lack of practice that players had had due to the lockdown.
“Virat also had no practice and the only practice that they had when they have seen them playing in their building compound and Anushka was bowling to him. That’s what I said. That’s the only bowling, I have not used any other word,” he said.
Clarifying further, he said, “She was bowling to him, that’s all. Where am I blaming her? Where am I being sexist in this?”.
Gavaskar’s clarification has polarised public opinion, especially on Twitter where it has become a major talking point between men and women. Many on Twitter, especially men, agreed to the clarification put forth by Gavaskar was adequate and that he, indeed, was not being sexist. Many are now calling for an apology for Sharma for writing “long posts” in an apparent attempt to victimise herself.
Gavaskar's exact words were that Virat was so desperate for practice that he was playing cricket in the lockdown with Anoushka & neighbours had actually taken a video of that. What exactly did he say that was demeaning? Or did you hear something that I obviously missed? https://t.co/KQK2TT5MCh
— Joy Bhattacharjya (@joybhattacharj) September 25, 2020
Gavaskar said nothing wrong here.
Who's the person who twisted his words and tweeted first? pic.twitter.com/GUwKESCGeX
— Abhijeet Dipke (@abhijeet_dipke) September 25, 2020
Taking offence for anything and everything is in vogue these days!
Gavaskar’s statement taken out of context and blown out of proportion! https://t.co/1ksaFSa7AU
— Manish Pupneja (@kaafilambaladka) September 25, 2020
— Hayan Hasan (@iamhayanhasan) September 25, 2020
@AnushkaSharma if anyone should be apologising it should be you to for writing long paragraphs and portraying to everyone like he said something sexist or criticised kohli for his performance coz of you. Just say don't take my name, bina baat ki controversy#AnushkaSharma https://t.co/del8dF3bKO
— Cholo (@SchrodngersDog) September 25, 2020
Anushka sharma who are you??
Who gave you permission to troll Mr Gavaskar , You are nothing in front of #SunilGavaskar .
Where did you hear the vulgarity in this video?? You just think, what was in your mind. pic.twitter.com/qLcTYZ7ka3
— Krishna Bihari (@Krishna_Bihari) September 25, 2020
Women, however, took a very different view of the incident. Journalist Sunethra Choudhury said that despite the “context”, (the video) the fact that Gavaskar mentioned Sharma at all, just to be funny, was a clear example of casual sexism.
Isnt her point that no other WAG is mentioned? Why drag her and link her to her husband's performance? Fair point i think
— sunetra choudhury (@sunetrac) September 25, 2020
I think he thought it was being funny. To her, and legitimately so, it was casual sexism. And frankly, it is. That isn't acceptable anymore and women are right to call it out
— sunetra choudhury (@sunetrac) September 25, 2020
One more example of sexism and misogyny from our respected #SunilGavaskar, that too openly holding a mike!! 👏👏
— meera chopra (@MeerraChopra) September 25, 2020
The women who dont know cricket and who hear only what they want to hear have started tweeting again #Gavaskar
There are things more than boobs than men like . Come on https://t.co/36ko9mgo67
— socialscientist (@janaabzeo) September 25, 2020
Missing the point here . He absolutely did say that he was only practising To “Anushka ‘s bowling &isse kuch nahin ban na”. That’s a catty comment implying that all he did was practice to wife’s bowling which is of no use . Everything knows the kind of hate she gets when he loses https://t.co/uenn0u2J7X
— Rudrani Chattoraj (@rudrani_rudz) September 25, 2020
Not just women, several men also took Sharma’s side.
There was absolutely no need to bring Anushka into the topic. He is a commentator, he should be talking about the game. Even if he is talking about practice, all the players had a month of practice sessions. He can talk about that practice. https://t.co/U7UUYAAXTo
— Anup (@BallinBukayo) September 25, 2020
LOL people are defending Gavaskar by saying it wasn't double meaning. Yes it wasn't double meaning but why Anushka was even discussed in commentary box.
Though it's funny of some people teaching moral to others who themselves used to degrade their idol's wife.
— Nitin MI💙 (@LoyalMIfan) September 25, 2020
Meanwhile, Sharma herself has hit out at trolls including Gavaskar, stating that she doesn’t want her silence to be mistaken as her weakness and pointed out instances when she was blamed for the performance of the Indian national team. “I am not and will not be a pawn to be used by anyone’s thoughts or beliefs or agendas and next time you want to use my name to discredit someone or the board or even my husband, do it with facts and proof & leave me OUT of it I have led my life, built my own career with utmost dignity and I am not going to compromise that for anything. Maybe, it’s hard for some to believe that. because, I am a self-made, independent woman who only happens to be the wife of a cricketer. … and for the record, I drink coffee,” her post on Instagram read.