Bengaluru, January 11: Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul have been suspended pending an inquiry into their comments on women on a TV show. Both Pandya and Rahul will not be considered for selection for the first ODI against Australia at Sydney on Saturday (January 12). Though the exact course of action is not decided, there is the possibility of sending Pandya and Rahul back home without playing them in the three-match ODI series.
"Both Pandya and Rahul have been suspended pending an inquiry," CoA chief Vinod Rai told PTI.
The decision to suspend the players came after the BCCI legal team informed the Committee of Administrators (CoA) and other Board officials that the players could be suspended pending inquiry, which can be completed within 6 months. The legal unit also emphasised the need to appoint an ad hoc Ombudsman to probe the episode in which Pandya and Rahul made a few crass remarks about women in a TV show - Koffee with Karan anchored by Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar.
It may be possible that the Board will issue a fresh show-cause in line with the legal opinion and the CoA chief Vinod Rai had already recommended two-match ban for the players. The suspension was put on hold because Diana Eduljee, the other CoA member, had sought legal advice before taking action against Pandya and Rahul.
The legal team has also recommended the immediate appointment of an Ombudsman since the Board does not have one right now. "Considering that the BCCI at present does not have an Ombudsman, the COA, in our view, will be justified in and entitled to appoint an ad hoc ombudsman with a defined specific mandate of adjudicating on the present matter. The Ad hoc Ombudsman should possess the qualifications required for an Ombudsman under Rule 40(1) of the BCCI constitution.
"Thereafter, the Ad hoc Ombudsman should adjudicate on the matter in the manner as prescribed in the BCCI constitution," the letter from the BCCI legal team stated.
A source close to the development said the team has been waiting to take a final call on Pandya and Rahul. "The team management has told Pandya that he is not playing on Saturday as they are yet to get a final directive. Rahul, in any case, wasn't in contention for a first XI berth. The team management is waiting for an official communication on whether there is a provisional suspension and if they will be sent back."
Earlier, skipper Virat Kohli too had rapped Pandya and Rahul for their remarks. "From the Indian cricket team point of view, any inappropriate comments that are made in that scenario are something that we definitely don't support and the two concerned players felt what has gone wrong and they have understood the magnitude of what's happened," Kohli said. "Definitely it has to hit anyone hard, they will definitely understand the things that have not gone right," he said.