SYDNEY: India allrounder Hardik Pandya and opener K.L. Rahul have been suspended from all forms of cricket pending an inquiry into what officials described as controversial comments on an India-based television show.
The Committee of Administrators, acting on behalf of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), on Saturday said it had asked both players to respond within seven days "as to why they should not be proceeded against for misconduct and indiscipline."
The pair will return to India and miss the remainder of the Australia tour, which continues Saturday with the first of three one-day internationals, and the upcoming limited-overs tour of New Zealand.
On Friday, India captain Virat Kohli said the players' comments were not acceptable.
Pandya has apologized, saying he "got a bit carried away with the nature of the show. In no way did I mean to disrespect or hurt anyone's sentiments."
Harbhajan Singh lashes out at suspended duo
Veteran Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh lashed out at the suspended duo for tarnishing the image of the game and those who play it.
Harbhajan even went on to say that he won't be comfortable having Pandya and Rahul around his wife and daughter.
"I will not travel with these two guys in the bus if my daughter of my wife are travelling in the team bus. How would they feel? You are looking at women in only one angle and that is not right," Harbhajan told India Today.
"We don't talk about all this even with our friends and they were talking on public television. Now people might think was Harbhajan Singh like this, was Anil Kumble like this and was Sachin Tendulkar..." Harbhajan added.
"Pandya has been in the team for how long to talk of the team culture in the manner he did," Harbhajan said.
"I think this is the way to go," the 38-year-old responded when asked about the suspension.
"The BCCI did the right thing, and this is also the way forward. This was expected and I am not surprised," the off-spinner, who has over 400 Test wickets, said.
Pandya bragged about his success with women and made other sexual remarks during a chat show broadcast last Sunday just as India was celebrating its historic first Test series win in Australia.
Rahul was on the show at the same time and watched his teammate's bragging that sparked outrage on social media.
The 25-year-old Pandya and Rahul apologised for their conduct after the BCCI demanded an explanation but officials unanimously decided to go ahead with an inquiry.
The Indian selectors will soon name their replacements for the ODI series against Australia and the tour to New Zealand.
Skipper Virat Kohli distanced himself from the controversy earlier Friday, saying the team does not support any "inappropriate" remarks.
"From the Indian cricket team point of view, any inappropriate comments that are made in that scenario are something that we definitely don't support," he said.
Kohli added that the two players "have understood the magnitude of what's happened".