Hardik and I are back to being good friends: Rahul
Two of the brightest Indian cricketers, Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul, had courted controversy in January this year, after Pandya made some sexist and racist remarks on Koffee With Karan, and Rahul simply kept silent. They were provisionally suspended, but soon returned on the pitch. Recently, Rahul opened up about the same, and said that he and Hardik "are back to being good friends."
Let's roll back a bit. When asked about their personal lives by the show host Karan Johar, Hardik spoke about how his parents and family were 'cool' and open about discussing the cricketer's sex life. He was joined by Rahul on the couch. Though his statements weren't problematic, the way he spoke about Hardik, it showed that Rahul was party to all his actions.
Naturally, the way they disclosed things about the culture in the dressing room angered the top administrators. They were suspended, and called back home from the Australian tour. They tendered unconditional apologies before the BCCI Ombudsman, after which they were cleared. They eventually participated in the IPL representing their respective franchises, and also played in all the ten World Cup games.
Talking about it months later, Rahul revealed that the incident did leave him feeling "bitter for a bit," and "bothered me a lot." "I won't lie. I was angry, but I came out of it all as a more accepting person. I understood that certain things are sensitive, and no matter what you do, certain people will find the bad in you," he said.
After facing much backlash, Rahul and Hardik apparently switched themselves off from social media. "It was hard for both of us. We did speak to each other about it while this whole process was on (investigation). He was with his family and friends and I was with my people. We switched off from the outside world for those few weeks," he said.
Going further, the cricketer from Karnataka said, "We learned from the situation, accepted it, and now we are back to being good friends. We literally spend 300 days together... travelling and playing cricket. Hardik is still a good friend and we enjoy each other's company."
For now, the right-handed batsman said that his focus is his game, because "cricket is the only thing I'm good at." "I need to focus more on cricket, spend more time in the gym, on the field, practising and training. It made me more focused on my profession and what I really need to do. I need to give it all," he further said.
Recently Rahul's personal life also came under scanner, when he was linked with Alia Bhatt's best friend, Akansha Ranjan Kapoor. However, he denied the reports, saying that he is "committed to cricket right now." Notably, Rahul was also rumored to be dating Athiya Shetty, Punjabi actress Sonam Bajwa and Jannat actress Sonal Chauhan in the past. However, Sonal had vehemently rubbished those rumors.