It has been around a year since Hardik Pandya found himself in hot soup over the comments he made during an episode of talk show 'Koffee With Karan'. Since that time, he has managed to get over the initial hostile response of the public at large and temporary suspension from the team to come back in the side and become a star again.
However, the controversy continues to be a talking point and those comments he made have given him the image of a playboy that even his recent engagement with model and celebrity Natasha Stankovic hasn't erased.
Now, in an interview, Hardik has again answered questions about the issue and has again claimed that what made him say those controversial things was the nature of the show.
"We as cricketers did not know what was going to happen. The ball was not in my court, it was in some else's court where they had to take the shot and that's a very vulnerable place you don't want to be," Pandya stated in a conversation with India Today.
This explanation of Hardik Pandya is a repetition of his very first defence that came soon after the airing of the controversial episode. At that time, both Hardik and KL Rahul, who was the other guest in that episode, claimed that they got 'carried away' by the format of the show.
Both the current explanation and the one offered at the start of this controversy are not sufficient to exonerate the two cricketers. Yes, the format of the show does encourage slightly saucy and controversial remarks but Hardik certainly went overboard with his comments.
Let us also remember that it wasn't just the comments he made about women that were criticised. He also, when asked who is the better batsman according to him – Virat Kohli or Sachin Tendulkar – replied, quite summarily, "Virat".
Now showing preference for Virat over Sachin in an absolutely trivial issue compared to some of the utterly insensitive comments about how they treat women. But the very casual nature in which Hardik answered this question also shows that he was acting in a very careless manner.
Most people believe that the all-rounder has moved beyond the controversy. His engagement may be another step in a new direction. But it would have been better for him to accept his guilt and concede that he acted in an irresponsible and unjustified manner. Yes, the show is meant for light-hearted chatter sometimes descending into the realm of naughtiness.
Still, a grown-up man who has the responsibility of representing his county ought to do better than get carried away so easily.