India’s Pandya, Rahul fined by ombudsman for talk-show comments

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India all-rounder Hardik Pandya and batsman KL Rahul have been each ordered to pay 2 million rupees (about $29,000) towards charity within a month for their comments about women in a television chat-show, the Board of Control for Cricket in India ombudsman has ruled.

Indian cricket administrators recalled Pandya and Rahul from a tour of Australia and charged them with misconduct and indiscipline after remarks condemned on social media as sexist, racist and misogynist.

The duo missed five one-day internationals each as part of a provisional ban, which was later lifted, and have been included in India’s 15-member squad for the May 30-July 14 World Cup.

A committee of administrators (CoA) that is running Indian cricket had asked the Supreme Court to appoint an ombudsman to investigate the case and determine if the pair had brought the game into disrepute.

In his order, BCCI ombudsman Justice DK Jain said he took into account the CoA’s view that due to the five matches the players missed due to the provisional ban, they lost out on earnings of about 3 million rupees.

“I have no hesitation in observing that being an active participant in the show, in which certain unpalatable remarks/comments were made, even by his own admissions, he also offended sensitivities, which ought to have been avoided,” Jain said in his order posted on the BCCI website.

“Hence he must make amends.”

The talk-show went viral, prompting outrage on social media with some users demanding a life ban, while others called for the cricketers’ lucrative contracts for the Indian Premier League (IPL) to be torn up.

Jain said both players had apologized for the incident without seeking to justify their action and directed the BCCI to deduct the fine from their match fees if the cricketers fail to pay the 2 million rupees within four weeks.

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