India suspend Pandya, Rahul over comments on women

Captains Aaron Finch and Virat Kohli

Appearing on the show, Pandya was asked about how he approached women in nightclubs, to which he replied: "You are just watching and observing how they move".

While the on-field focus in Indian cricket is set to shift to white-ball cricket with the ODI series against Australia, the off-field attention has been hogged by controversial interview on an entertainment show.

Inappropriate comments have cast a shadow over India's Test celebrations and ODI preparations, with Virat Kohli making his displeasure clear, as Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul face suspension amid a sexism scandal.

India playing 11 probables: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Ambati Rayudu, M S Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneswar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Khaleel Ahmed/Yuzvendra Chahal. India would have to be below par to lose the series but interestingly Australia have lost only three bilateral ODI series at home, in this decade. Hardik Pandya will not be playing owing to the suspension and Test opener KL Rahul received by the BCCI on Friday.

"We are all waiting for a decision from the board and from there on we can understand what needs to be done about the situation", Kohli told reporters.

Rahul, perhaps, was unlikely to get a go anyway partly due to his poor form as well as the presence of a well-settled opening pair in Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan.

Much attention will also be on former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni who will like get some runs under his belt as he is expected to be one of the vital cogs in India's campaign at this year's ODI World Cup. Jasprit Bumrah, who shone with the ball in the Test series, has been rested.

Dhoni had an off-colour 2018, managing 275 runs in 20 ODIs at an average of 25 without a half-century. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami along with rookies Mohammad Siraj and K. Khaleel Ahmed will take care of the pace department. While this is a meagre return for a batsman of his stature, the worrying aspect is Dhoni's strike-rate of 71.42, which is remarkably lower than his ODI career strike-rate of 87.89. The team has Dhoni and Jadhav who could turn the match at will.

The decision to suspend the players came after the BCCI legal team informed the Committee of Administrators (CoA) and other Board officials that the players could be suspended pending inquiry, which can be completed within 6 months.

The 1st ODI between India and Australia will be played on January 12, 2019.

"If you see the last few matches that we played in UAE and India, we could play a finger spinner and a wrist spinner, but in South Africa and England two wrist spinners were critical for our success", he said.

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