Former India wicket-keeper Farokh Engineer has come out in support of Sunil Gavaskar, who faced backlash on social media for his comments on Anushka Sharma, wife of current Team India skipper Virat Kohli.
Gavaskar faced a lot of ire on Twitter for a remark he made on Anushka helping Kohli with his practice during the Covid-19 induced lockdown, with the actress herself demanding an explanation from the legendary cricketer.
“We, Indians lack a sense of humour. If Sunil had indeed said so about Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli, it must have been in a humorous tone and not in the bad or derogatory taste,” Engineer said while speaking to Pakistan Observer.
“Knowing Sunil Gavaskar well, I am sure he would have said it jokingly. Even in my case, people took it very seriously with the result that Anushka had to come out with her statement,” said Engineer, who during 2019 ICC World Cup, had found himself in a similar controversy after he reportedly said all that the Indian selectors were doing in England was getting Anushka “cups of tea”.
Gavaskar himself has issued a clarification, saying his comments were misinterpreted.
“As you hear from the commentary, Aakash (Chopra) and I were doing commentary for an Hindi channel. And Aakash was talking abot 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.
“Rohit (Sharma) didn’t strike the ball well in his first match, MSD (MS Dhoni) didn’t strike the ball well, Virat (Kohli) also didn’t strike the ball. Most of the batsmen have because of the lack of practice,” he said.
“That was the point that was being made. Virat also had no practice and the only practice that they had when they were seen them playing in their building compund and Anushka was bowling to him. That’s what I said,” he added.
The former India captain further explained: “She was bowling to him, that’s all. Where am I blaming her? Where am I being sexist in this? I am just stating what was seen in the video which was maybe recorded by somebody in the neighbouring buildings and then put up. That’s the only thing I am doing.”