Cricket Heart-Throbs Fired From Tour Over 'Sexist' Remarks
India has suspended Hardik Pandya and Lokesh Rahul "from playing any form of cricket" after their comments on a talk show.
They are two players whose cocky attitudes and sex-symbol aesthetic have clashed with the religious and cultural traditions of their country.
Due to recent controversial remarks aired on television, Hardik Pandya, 25, and KL Rahul, 26, have been suspended from cricket until further notice.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) sent the duo home from Australia on the eve of the three-match ODI series between the two countries.
On a now-pulled episode of TV show Koffee With Karan, Pandya spoke candidly about his relationship history and his affinity for "black culture".
His remarks about African-Americans were viewed by many to be racially insensitive, while his comments on women sparked even more backlash.
The all-rounder boasted about hooking up with women whose names he didn't bother asking, and shared how his parents 'encouraged' his brash attitude.
"At a party, my parents asked me acha tera wala [your women] kaun sa hai, so I said yeah, yeah, yeah [pointing out to some women] and they were like 'waah proud of u beta'," Pandya said.
"When I lost my virginity, I came home and said, 'Mein karke aaya hai aaj (I had sex today)'," he added.
While Rahul didn't voice similar comments, he was part of the controversial interview on the popular talk show.
The Koffee With Karan episode has now been removed online and Pandya has issued an apology via Instagram.
Scores of Indian cricket fans took to social media and shared their disappointment in the flashy teammates' behaviour.
"The whole nation is trying to change for the betterment of women and then we have these senseless young cricketers with no basic morals and etiquette. Zero public responsibility.
"He not only insulted India but I feel sorry for the ‘black culture’ people, as described by him. What a disgrace and what a serious case of identity crisis," one disgruntled follower wrote.
"As a role model for youngsters, they should have talked about their struggles and hard work gaining a position in the Indian team, rather than carrying away with a show nature like Bollywood celebs," stated another.
Pandya and Rahul being sent home from an overseas tour is only the second such instance in 82 years of Indian cricket.
The BCCI's response to the incident included a warning that players may not be given the go-ahead to appear on entertainment programs moving forward.
"It will be considered whether players should even be allowed to appear on such shows, which have got nothing to do with cricket," the statement read.
Both players have been suspended indefinitely, pending an inquiry.
Featured image: Koffee With Karan.