Opinion: Dear Sunil Gavaskar, your misogynist comment on Anushka Sharma is unbecoming of a legend of the gentleman's game

Here we go again. A loss for Virat Kohli and his wife-actress Anushka Sharma becomes the punching bag for trolls. While the mommy-to-be may have learnt to ignore the norm, it was an unsavoury comment by veteran cricketer-turned-commentator Sunil Gavaskar that invited the wrath of angry fans across social media.

Gavaskar reportedly said, “Lockdown mein sirf Anushka ki bowling ki practice kii inhone."

The legendary cricketer referred to Kohli’s poor performance during the IPL 2020.

Here’s why Gavaskar’s statement will never age well.

For starters, it stinks of sexism and misogyny - something Anushka has been battling all along while she cheered for her man from the stands at the pavilion.

The fact that Gavaskar made fun of Virat can be interpreted that he trained only against Anushka’s bowling, which in turn shows that –women are to be blamed for a man’s lackadaisical performance in any field. Or that a man spending some quality time with his woman affected his ‘actual’ skills.

Meanwhile, there were some who spoke in his defense and pointed out that his ‘joke’ was in reference to the friendly match the couple played outside their Mumbai residence amid lockdown.

How funny was it anyway?

Gavaskar’s comment takes us back to the one made by former Indian cricketer Farokh Engineer.

Engineer came down heavily on the senior national selection committee during the 2019 World Cup in England, and said that all they were doing was “getting Anushka Sharma cups of tea”.

While Engineer did apologise after Anushka hit back, Gavaskar should have been mentally prepared for the worst in 2020.

Casual sexism has no room in the woke world. Joke or no joke, given how Anushka has been dragged time and again for Virat’s failures, it only proves that this comment will not be swallowed just as easily as he’d wish.

The underlying effect of such statements has its impact on not just Anushka, but scores of other women who come in the line of fire for the declining graph of their spouses.

Our society thrives on male achievers, and anything or anyone that gets in the way is to be discarded or blamed.

It reflects how we come across traditional femininity as opposed to toxic masculinity. Who are women really? They are defined by the success of their man, children and family’s honour.

Anushka would have been lauded over and over if she’d quit films and supported her husband’s journey to success. But hey, she’s a self-made woman and a patriarchal society like ours detests that.

So, we find ways to subject her as a distraction if at all her husband faces an extreme low.

Flip-side, have we ever blamed Kohli if Sharma’s films tank at the box office? Or if she doesn’t perform well onscreen?

It is high time Anushka be left out of the entire cricket conversation and her involvement in how Virat turns into a raging bull aiming for a winning streak on ground. Are we going to blame their child in the near future because Kohli was busy fulfilling his daddy duties? If cricket is a gentleman’s game, Gavaskar has a hefty due upon him until he apologises for his remark.

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal