“Where am I blaming her for Virat’s failures?”: Sunil Gavaskar responds to Anushka Sharma on controversy over linking Bollywood actress to husband’s poor performance

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Former India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar has responded to Anushka Sharma after she launched an extraordinary attack on him for linking her to husband Virat Kohli’s poor performance on the field. Denying the allegation, Gavaskar asked, “Where am I blaming her for Virat’s failures?”

Gavaskar told India Today TV channel, “Firstly, I would like to say, where am I blaming her, I’m not blaming her. I am only saying that the video showed she was bowling to Virat. Virat has only played that much bowling in this lockdown period.”

The Indian batting legend added, “It is tennis ball fun game that people have to pass time during the lockdown, so that’s all, so where am I blaming her for Virat’s failures.”

While commenting on Kohli batting performance during the IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab, Gavaskar was heard saying, “Woh chahte hain ki jitni woh practice karein, unse woh behtar ban sakte hain. woh chahte hain. Jab lockdown tha to sirf Anushka ki bowling pe practice ki unhone, woh video dekhi hai maine. us se to kuch nahi banta hai.” [He (Kohli) wants to practice more and more to become better. I have seen a video how he practiced on Anushka’s bowling during the lockdown. That’s not going to help.]

This had prompted many to accuse him of being sexist, while others had demanded his sacking as a commentator. Anushka had launched an extraordinary attack against Gavaskar, calling his comments ‘distasteful.’ She had written, “That, Mr Gavaskar, your message is distasteful is a fact. But I will love to you to explain why you thought of making such a sweeping statement on a wife accusing her for her husband’s game? I’m sure over the years you’ve respected the private lives of every cricketer while commentating on the game. Don’t you think you should have equal amount of respect for me and us?”

Gavaskar denied the allegation of being secist as he said, “I’m the one who has always batted for wives going with husbands on tours. I am the one who has always said that like a normal guy going to office for a 9-5 job, when he comes back home, he comes back to his wife, similarly why can’t cricketers have their wives with them,” Gavaskar said.

He also tried to explain his comment. “As you can hear from the commentary, Aakash was talking about the fact there has been very little chance for any proper practice in the lockdown, for everybody… ”

He continued, “…..that has actually shown in rustiness of some of the players in their first matches. Rohit (Sharma) didn’t strike the ball well, now in the second match he has got runs, MSD (Mahendra Singh Dhoni) didn’t strike the ball well in the first match.”

Kohli had scored just one run his last game against Kings XI Punjab and dropped two catches of KL Rahul, who went on to score 132. Kohli’s team had to suffer a humiliating defeat by 97 runs.

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