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21 October, 2018 10:33:21 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 21 October, 2018 10:36:12 AM


Clean bowled?

All hell broke loose when Akbar instead of offering to resign or being asked to, seemed defiant and slapped a defamation suit against only one woman
Kumkum Chadha
Clean bowled?

Even as the Me Too campaign refuses to die down and has taken a toll on Union Minister M.J.Akbar’s political future, it drowned another demand that in the face of the current furor would certainly have seemed appropriate. But on the current controversy first and the developments therein.

With Akbar’s initial refusal to step down and the BJP studied silence on the controversy that surrounded allegations from over a dozen women over Akbar’s sexual overtures to young interns, sometimes in a bathrobe, clearly misusing his position as then Editor, the BJP has received flak.
Hell broke loose when Akbar instead of offering to resign or being asked to, seemed defiant and slapped a defamation suit against only one woman: journalist Priya Ramani who was the first to accuse him of sexual harassment. As a fear tactic, it was made known that the law firm that he had engaged has 97 lawyers on board, a mere technicality but enough to make  women cringe. That Ramani did not is another matter: that women and men stood by her also speaks volumes of the strength of the Me Too movement; and that journalist bodies including the Editors Guild rallied around her.
Finally, her husband Samar Halarnkar,also a journalist nailed it when he wrote: “This is not Akbar vs Ramani, this is the Union of India vs Ramani. He has access to a battery of powerful lawyers: There are 97 listed in the legal notice. She has, thus far, one…We do have one important weapon: The truth. We also have the conviction to stand up for what is right and just and not back down in the face of power”.

Akbar’s resignation and more accounts coming out post his slapping a defamation suit against Ramani only demonstrates the fact that even while he has the power and financial ability, Ramani has the backing of hundreds and thousands of men and women and that even if it is, on the face of it, an unequal fight, it is one that Ramani and with her India has vowed to fight. So if Ramani loses, the women lose and with them many men; if Ramani loses India loses. As thing unfold, this seems unlikely.

Amid this hullaballoo, there were references made to Akbar’s wife Mallika, “the dusky beauty” who Akbar fell in love with and eventually married. It is as Akbar’s ex-colleague K.P.Nayar wrote “a marriage which has endured”. While on wives and girlfriends, Indian Skipper Virat Kohli’s demand seems to have got lost in the Akbar-din.  

If reports are anything to go by, India captain Virat Kohli has apparently made a request to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to reconsider its rule on wives of the players.

Recently married to actor Anushka Sharma, Kohli wants the Indian cricket board to allow wives of the players to accompany them on full overseas tours.

The current policy restricts the stay of wives of players and support staff to just two weeks. The 14-day period is imposed with a view to reduce the impact of the wives and girlfriends  of cricketers during foreign tours. However, there are reports of BCCI relenting and letting cricketers’ wives and girlfriends  join them on tours after the first 10 days and allow them to stay for the entire length of the tour.

Known as WAGs, read wives and girl friends, no Indian cricketer in the past has demanded that their wives or kids accompany them in tours. In fact, reports have it that Sachin Tendulkar, had at a public event,  apologized to his kids, Arjun and Sara for not spending enough time with them on special occasions.

For record, Anushka Sharma has been travelling with the team. She was slammed on the social media when her pictures appeared with the Indian team at the Indian High Commission’s event in London during the team England tour. There were questions asked on why she was being allowed to travel with the team despite the WAG rule.

Kohli, on his part, has stated that Anushka has stood by him in the good and bad phases of his life and her presence helps him perform on the field whenever the team tours abroad. Kohli even dedicated his first Test hundred in England to Anushka after scoring 103 in the Nottingham Test in August.

"I want to dedicate my innings especially to my wife. She's motivated me a lot, kept pushing me. She's the only one who keeps me positive out there….she deserves the credit for this one," Kohli had said after the match.

For a captain  to break rules and worse  still place wife before country is unforgiveable. For him to say that her presence helps him, is like saying to hell with the rules and I will do as I will because I am Virat Kohli.

Love is one thing and responsibility quite another and when one represents one’s country, it is a different ball game. One is chosen not only for the game but for the dedication, drive and discipline that he is expected to display and motivate others in the team too. An errant captain who gives a go-by to rules sets a bad example.

In the recent times, the WAGS have got  flak for the poor performance of the team in overseas series. Kohli also bore the brunt with his poor show in the semi-finals of the ICC World Cup 2015 which was attributed to the presence Anushka, then his girl friend.

  Opinion has been divided across the world over allowing wives and children to accompany teams during major tours and  chances are that the BCCI may take a leaf out of the Australian- book, as it were.

The Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) finalizes a certain period for the family members. This is called the family period where families come and visit the players for a set period of time, the duration of which varies from tour to tour.

Also in the Indian context, restricting it to wives and families may be a better option than opening the floodgates for girl-friends to be permitted on tours. In many cases such relationships could be transient.

The BCCI is well within its rights to take an overview keeping in mind the interest of the Indian cricket, rather than succumb to the whims and fancy of cricketers, thanks to  their love life or marital alliance. There is a strong case for too much family time influencing practice time on tours which could be detrimental to the game.

The Indian cricketers, especially those in demand like Kohli is, could well do to cut their shooting schedule and devote that time to their family, wives, girl friends et all rather than burn one’s candle at both ends.

That cricketers are in demand to feature in advertisements and make big bucks is well known and when they are not on the field they are posing for the cameras. Kohli and the likes of him could well do with saying no to cameras and yes to family,in this case his wife, rather than expecting the BCCI to bend rules and in the process adversely jeopardize practice sessions which in turn could adversely affect the game. The writer is a senior Indian journalist, political commentator and columnist of The Independent. She can be reached at: (kumkum91@gmail.com)



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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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