Excuses have been given an entirely new dimension by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). If allowing girlfriend Anushka Sharma to stay with Virat Kohli in England for the first two Tests wasn’t enough to raise eyebrows, the pretext the BCCI used to convince the team management is mind-boggling. The BCCI told the management that the duo will get married very soon.
Speaking to Mail Today, a BCCI official said that while there was a bit of a dilemma as to how the touring Indian media would react, the Board told the officials travelling with the team that it was just a matter of time before the duo ties the nuptial knot. “The team management was slightly taken aback when the BCCI approved Kohli’s plea of letting Anushka stay with him. But they were told there was no reason to worry as the two were planning to get married. And this isn’t the first time such a thing was happening. A captain’s girlfriend had travelled with the team in the past as well,” he said.
In fact, the BCCI also told them that Kohli was smart enough to handle the situation and the media wouldn’t even get to know of Anushka’s presence – a definite error of judgment. “When the management enquired on how to handle the media if they questioned her presence with the vice-captain, they were told that Kohli can handle the media attention and wouldn’t let the cat out of the bag,” he said.
On the view that Anushka’s presence had nothing to do with Kohli’s poor form, the official said: “Unlike football, Test cricket is played for eight hours. And when the mind is on picking and dropping friends, the result will be visible on the field itself. Off-field activities definitely play on the mind.” But another official said that the sole reason behind the ruckus is the relationship status.
“If the duo was married, nobody would have said a word. We all know how Indian culture is. And the lack of form ended up serving as fodder for the media. If he had scored runs, they would have ignored the whole issue,” he said.
Indian team manager Sunil Dev was also not happy about taking Anushka on the tour. “I doubt whether the secretary even spoke to the interim BCCI President Shivlal Yadav before granting permission. I am sure he would have turned down the request. Anushka stayed with Virat till the third Test. Foreign players do take their girlfriends on tour, but India’s culture is different. Indian society doesn’t allow girlfriends on tour like this,” he said while talking to a leading website.