Gavaskar, Anushka and all the social-media melee!


Veteran cricketer and commentator Sunil Gavaskar was on September 25 caught in a midst of a controversy for his remarks about RCB batsman Virat Kohli and his wife Anushka Sharma, while he was on air during the RCB vs KXIP match on Thursday.

Social media and several news outlets claimed that Gavaskar had made a ‘distasteful’ remark on Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli and his wife Anushka Sharma during live commentary.

The live footage of the match clearly showed that keyboard warriors and the media outlets grossly misquoted Gavaskar. For one, it is premature to presume that Gavaskar’s comments were distasteful or sexist.

It is also clear he did not blame Anushka Sharma for her husband’s performance. Some misquoted and ill-translated comments were shared by netizens on social media that carved out a different meaning altogether of the comments made by Gavaskar, making even Anushka post a strong-worded Instagram story for the original Little Master.

It is generally perceived that we Indians lack a sense of humour. As a community, it is a common trait to jump to conclusions and blow things out of proportion. Did Gavaskar really mean to instigate or insult either Virat Kohli or Anushka Sharma!? The answer would be an emphatic NO!

Then it is the social media clout and the polarisation that it brings with it-that at times we tend to overlook a humorous tone and portrait everything in a twisted or derogatory taste.
Back in 2016, The former India captain had blasted at all those who had trolled the actor by linking her to Virat Kohli’s on-field performance after every India match, terming them “frustros” with no love in their lives.


Gavaskar-Anushka spat: Matter of fact

RCB captain Virat Kohli dropped two catches and then failed with the bat too against KXIP, to which Gavaskar said, “Sirf Anushka ki bowling ki practice ki hai unhone.” Anushka then asked why it was important for Gavaskar to drag her name in her husband’s game.

If the game can happen with stadium spectators, it sure can happen without her. Gavaskar, on his part, has presented proof of what he said and an explanation of why he said what he said. “Kohli knows he will improve based on the way he practices. During the lockdown, he practised only against Anushka’s bowling. We all saw the video. That wouldn’t help at all.”

The casual remark said during the commentary didn’t go down well with a lot of people and outbursts are rising on social media. Anushka also shared a statement expressing her disappointment at Gavaskar’s choice of words.

Ever since the actor has come out with her statement, many people have accused her of overreacting and misunderstanding the legend’s comments, saying that he was merely referring to their viral home practising video.

Calling Gavaskar’s remarks “distasteful,” Sharma put forth a very pertinent question – “When will I stop getting dragged into cricket and stop getting used to pass sweeping statements?”

By Friday morning, Gavaskar’s comment – which was twisted in some posts – would divide opinion on social media. While some called him sexist, there were also those who didn’t find anything objectionable with Gavaskar’s comment.

Putting up a stout defence, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar on Friday said he never blamed Virat Kohli’s actor-wife Anushka Sharma for India captain’s failure during an IPL match.

“Where am I blaming her, where am I being sexist in this. I am only stating what was seen on the video … I am only saying that the video says that she was bowling to Virat. So Virat has played only that bowling in the lockdown period … Where am I blaming her for Virat’s failures,” he said.

Gavaskar-Anushka spat: Points to ponder

Even if the legendary batsman didn’t mean to sound sexist, the fact that he took Anushka Sharma’s name in his commentary shows how casual we are in our approach to sexism? Nobody has to put up with it when their name is dragged into the mud, not even if it is done by the Sunil Gavaskar.

The bigger question is did he really meant that, or like most of the things on social media, was it blown out of proportion to create a sensation? But were the comments that went viral, really worthy of outrage?

The matter of fact is, comments made by Gavaskar seemingly lost in translation, has lead to the actor responding with a firm rebuke on her Instagram page.

But, taking Gavaskar’s quotes on face value, it was seemingly a casual reference to the video above without any crass motives attached to it. Given his stature and contribution in Indian cricket, Sunil Gavaskar commands authority and respect. He is a legend in a true sense of words.

While it can be argued that Sharma’s name should not have found a place in the commentary, Gavaskar neither made an indecent remark nor blamed the actor for her husband’s performance.

The most unfortunate truth of our society these days is, most of it thrives on the social-media circus, without even bothering to get the facts right.

The underlying effect of such controversies is, we inevitably end up maligning both the sides involved. And considering the sacrifices Gavaskar has made for the country’s cause during his playing days, it again points to the fact that we do little to value our true legends. One must not forget that cricket is a gentleman’s game, and legends like Sunil Gavaskar have made sure it stays like that.

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