Former Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh has found himself in hot water after making controversial remarks about Bollywood actors Anushka Sharma and Athiya Shetty during the World Cup final commentary on November 19. Singh’s remarks, viewed by many as misogynistic, have sparked outrage on social media, with netizens calling for an apology.
In a now-viral video, Singh can be heard saying, “And my main thought was whether this is about cricket or films. Because I don’t know how much society there will be regarding cricket. [And I was thinking whether this conversation is about cricket or films. Because I don’t know how much they understand about cricket].” The camera was panned towards Anushka Sharma and Athiya Shetty in the stands, amplifying the impact of Singh’s comments.
Social media users have since condemned the remark, with one X user questioning“Did the commentator just say [that] while the camera was on Anushka and Athiya?” Another demanded an apology, tweeting directly to Harbhajan Singh, “What do you mean that the ladies understand cricket or not? Please apologize immediately.”
Critics expressed their discontent with the sexist undertones of Singh’s commentary. One user lashed out“The audacity of the commentators to pass a sexist comment on such a broadcast.” Another noted“And his own wife was an actor,” while another quipped“He must ask his wife and confirm it.” A netizen even held“Harbhajan Singh shouldn’t be part of commentary. He is a misogynist.”
However, there were also some who felt otherwise. An X user, for example, stated“What is so Sexist? Their jobs are in the film industry. He made the comment based on their jobs, not gender. Gender-based comment would also be okay because most girl[s] don’t understand cricket like we don’t understand splitsvilla. It is okay to acknowledge gender differences. Also okay to laugh about them instead of being a fat bore.” One more maintained“Don’t think there is anything sexist in the comment.”
The incident has reignited discussions about the role of gender sensitivity in sports commentary.
Amid the controversy, Australia claimed their sixth World Cup title by defeating India by six wickets in the final. Despite the cricketing spectacle, Singh’s comments have diverted attention towards issues of sexism in sports commentary, prompting a broader conversation about the need for respect and equality in all aspects of the sporting world.
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