Most wicketkeepers in cricket are known to `talk’ a bit much behind the stumps in order to sledge the batsman and disturb his concentration at the crease. The presence of the stump mike has reduced the number of Kiran Mores of the world to an extent but the smart ones get away.
Farokh Engineer belongs to a cricketing era gone by and bad habits obviously die hard. He decided to sledge the Indian selection committee but in the bargain, bit more than he could chew. On Thursday, he commented about a selector being more busy serving tea to Anushka Sharma, actor and wife of Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli.
“I didn’t even know one of the selectors during the World Cup and I asked him who the hell he was, because he was wearing the India blazer and he said he was one of the selectors. All they were doing was getting Anushka Sharma cups of tea,” the former India wicketkeeper had told The Times Of India.
Anushka took to Twitter to blast Engineer out of the park, saying she will not allow her name to be dragged into such conversations.
“I am a self-made, independent woman who only happens to be the wife of a cricketer,” she wrote.
Engineer has subsequently apologised, calling Anushka “a lovely girl”. But his comment was problematic on several counts. One, he insinuated against Anushka, making it seem that keeping her in good humour was the way to keep one’s place in Indian cricket – be it as selectors, support staff or players.
Two, his contempt for the selector showed as he also wondered if between them they had played more than 10-12 Tests. He displayed scorn while doing so, forgetting that this MSK Prasad-led selection committee had picked up one of the most successful sides in all three formats of the game in recent times. Despite their personal inexperience as cricketers, they had forged a decent working relationship with the team management.
Three, if he did not know the Indian selector, it reflected on his ignorance as well that despite having represented the country, he had not shown the interest in finding out who the five selectors are.
Anushka ended her note saying she drinks coffee, not tea. Engineer should attempt to mend fences with a coffee with Anushka since chai pe charcha won’t happen.