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Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul fined for talk show comments

by Wisden Staff 3-minute read

Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul have been fined INR 20 lakh (approximately GBP 22,200) each, following an investigation into their comments on a talk show, and directed to donate the money to charity.

Justice JK Jain, the BCCI ombudsman, handed them the penalty “in order to purge [their] collective indiscretion”, while choosing not to give them another suspension.

Pandya and Rahul had been involved in a furore after their appearance on a popular talk show in India, Koffee With Karan, with their comments criticised as sexist and racist. The CoA, which was then a two-member panel, came down hard on them, handing them a provisional suspension. However, in the absence of an ombudsman or ethics officer, no inquiry could be conducted into the matter, and their suspension was lifted, pending appointment and investigation by an ombudsman.  The pair missed five ODIs in that period.

The inquiry into misconduct was duly taken up when Jain finally assumed charge. Both players appeared before him to plead their cases and apologised. With the BCCI also suggesting that “the loss of match fee and sitting out for five games was sufficient penalty for the acts of misdemeanour”, the former judge was inclined to agree.

He had stern advice for the players – “a player of international standing needs to bear in mind that he is shouldering a responsibility towards society all the time … of motivating and inspiring right conduct [among] young minds” – but acknowledged their apologies, both to the BCCI and to the public.

“Taking into consideration all these aspects, in particular that the player has tendered an apology for the incident without seeking to justify his action, has acknowledged his duty to the society and expressed his willingness to hold himself to higher standards expected of him and has missed out five ODIs; in the interest of justice and fair play, in order to purge his collective indiscretion”, the players were asked to deposit the amount, he wrote in his order.

They were both told to pay INR 1 lakh each to “most-deserving widows” of 10 constables of the para-military forces and deposit Rs 10 lakh each to a fund created for promotion of cricket among the blind.

The decision is expected to bring to a close the episode, as far as action from the BCCI is concerned. Both Pandya and Rahul have been named in India’s 15-member World Cup squad.

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