Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul’s foot in the mouth moment on a popular chat show Koffee With Karan 6 has threatened to derail their respective careers after a widespread backlash. The duo is likely to be suspended by the SC-appointed CoA member Diana Edulji till further action. This speculation only means that the both Pandya and Rahul are set to miss the first ODI match against Australia in Sydney, at the least.
The Gujarat all-rounder who is only returning from an injury made some serious racist and sexist comment on the show that has seen him earn the wrath of the general public. K L Rahul who could hardly get off the mark in the Test series in Australia could have done without this controversy as the COA gets behind to investigate the entire fiasco. KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya to Face Indefinite Suspension After Comments on Koffee With Karan 6?
We still do not know the extent of the punishment that may be handed over to the duo, but one thing has been made clear by Indian skipper Virat Kohli- the team management is waiting on the COA’s verdict before going ahead with the team selection. Virat Kohli on KL Rahul & Hardik Pandya Koffee With Karan 6 Episode: ‘Responsible Cricketers Don’t Align With Those Views, Those Were Individual Opinions’.
If the young cricketers are sent home from the tour for their gross misconduct, it will be a silver lining for quite a few cricketers who are waiting in the wings to get on the flight to Australia. Let us look at some the names that would be an ideal replacement for Hardik Pandya and K L Rahul in the team.
1. Parthiv Patel
Seasoned campaigner Parthiv Patel will be a good bet for the backup opener role to cover Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. He plays well with the new ball and is aggressive something associated with K L Rahul. The 33-year-old is also handy with the gloves and could double up as a cover for MS Dhoni. He was part of the Indian side that toured Australia back in 2003 which goes in his favour.
2. Suresh Raina
The Uttar Pradesh batsman has won several games for the Men in Blue with his brilliant batting in the middle order. He last played an ODI game for India against England in July 2018 after shoring up his fitness. Experience of 223 ODI is something the team management cannot ignore if they are looking for replacements. Raina’s part-time spin bowling is also part of his CV and could be utilised as a fifth bowler if things are not going well.
3. Manish Pandey
Manish Pandey will have to consider himself unlucky because he has never been given ample of opportunities in the senior team to cement his place. When things were looking good for the middle order batsman in 2018, he was shown the door once again. He has been playing well for Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy and recently guided them to a win over Chhattisgarh. His electric fielding is a bonus, and Virat Kohli has often admired players like these who are brilliant in the park.
4. Krunal Pandya
If the team management is looking for a like for like change, Hardik Pandya’s sibling Krunal Pandya is the safest pick. He played well during the T20 games before the Australia test series. His strengths include quickly getting over his spell with some tight line and length and useful contribution down the batting order. He is also more calm and composed compared to his younger brother and like his game to do the talking.
5. Deepak Chahar
More of a bowling all-rounder, Deepak Chahar did play for India in the Asia Cup and got a single game against Afghanistan. He can be a good selection for the fast pitches of Australia, and if he can replicate some of the forms he showed for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, India is set to benefit. Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul Stare At 2-Match Ban After Misogynist Comments on Koffee With Karan 6; COA Chief Vinod Rai Recommends Action.
These were some of the names that are likely to be discussed in the event of a ban imposed on K L Rahul and Hardik Pandya. These players are equally talented if not more than the disgraced duo and could do well if given a chance.