The former head of the Committee of Administrators which handled the operations of the BCCI, Vinod Rai, in his book ‘Not Just a Nightwatchman – My Innings in the BCCI’, has talked in detail about the Hardik Pandya-KL Rahul controversy which erupted after their comments on Koffee with Karan episode in 2019.
The book is published by Rupa publications and excerpts posted by the Indian Express website have shown in detail, how Vinod Rai felt that Hardik and Rahul had gotten carried away as they were not media savvy, while a member of the COA Diana Edulji wanted harsher punishments for the duo.
“Diana was initially of the opinion that they (KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya) should be banned for a match or two to show we respect women and will not allow players to be disrespectful towards them. They were issued show-cause notices … Meanwhile, I discussed the issue with Ravi Shastri, the head coach, who was then in Australia with the team. Both of us felt that this was an off-the-ground misdemeanor, which should be handled by suspending them from playing a couple of matches and confiscation of match fees if they were willing to render a sincere public apology,” the excerpt read.
“So, the next day, on 10 January, I proposed a two-match suspension and sought Diana’s opinion… She forwarded my email to the three office-bearers… All the three-office bearers suggested ‘strict action’ as per BCCI rules. Thus, following the BCCI rules, on 11 January, the two players were placed under suspension. Both the players were in Australia with the team and had to be called back. Diana had made it clear that they should be kept under suspension till further course of action was decided for this misconduct…”
“In such disciplinary cases, BCCI rules require the CEO to conduct an inquiry, the report of which is to be given to the Apex Council who is to send it to the ombudsman for final disciplinary action. However, Diana was not happy with the CEO conducting an inquiry and wanted the CoA, along with the three office-bearers, or the CoA along with the acting secretary, to do the inquiry…”
KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya were both suspended from the Indian team for their unsavory and controversial comments made during the length of the show. They were called back from India's tour of Australia. Both tendered unconditional apologies.
“Rahul and Pandya are among the finest we have in the team. Not being so media savvy, they seemed to have got carried away and indulged in ‘boy’s dressing room talk’ without being conscious that they were on national television. We all acknowledge that their remarks were reprehensible.
They regretted the same and tendered an unconditional apology. An off-the-ground misdemeanor of this kind needed a correction but did not require putting their careers in jeopardy. I felt that prolonging their suspension and keeping them away from cricket could possibly cause an irreparable scar on their career and make matters worse,” it further said.