(Reuters) – Indian cricketers KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya, who were suspended earlier this month for making controversial comments about women, have had their bans lifted with immediate effect, the Indian cricket board (BCCI) said on Thursday.
Batsman Rahul and all-rounder Pandya were sent home from India’s tour of Australia two weeks ago and subsequently banned after making remarks that were widely condemned as sexist and inappropriate in a TV show interview.
A Committee of Administrators (CoA) that is running Indian cricket lifted the ban on the players pending the appointment of the board’s ombudsman, making the duo available for selection to the national team in the interim.
“The suspension orders dated 11.01.2019 is immediately lifted pending appointment and adjudication of the allegations by the BCCI Ombudsman,” the CoA said in a statement.
Local media reported that Pandya was likely to join up with India’s squad for the ongoing limited-overs series in New Zealand.
The two cricketers had been in limbo since their suspension on Jan. 11 due to a split in the two-member CoA over the next course of action, according to local media reports.
CoA chairman Vinod Rai was in favour handing them a two-match suspension and allowing them to return to action pending an inquiry by an ad-hoc ombudsman, the reports said.
Diana Edulji, the CoA’s second member, wanted an inquiry into the matter carried out either by the BCCI’s office bearers and the CoA itself or by an ombudsman.
The BCCI, however, has been without an ombudsman since 2016, and the CoA last week approached India’s Supreme Court asking it to appoint one to investigate the case.
The involvement of the court stems from a 2017 decision to fire officials of BCCI for failing to reform one of the game’s richest bodies after a spate of corruption scandals and to set up the CoA that reports to it.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Jennings)