Australian umpiring great Simon Taufel on Monday backed under-fire cricketers Hardik Pandya and Lokesh Rahul, calling for the issue to be handled with care as everyone makes mistakes and it is important to learn from them.
Chastised from every corner for their alleged “misogynistic” comments about women on a television show, the tainted pair have been suspended by the BCCI and have returned home midway from the tour of Australia to explain themselves.
In the city as the special guest for a local cricket league — the Silver Oak Estate Cricket League — Taufel was asked about his opinion on the issue that has taken the nation by storm.
“I knew this question was going to come up. Look what I would say in every team and in every business and every sport, is that good people make a good team. And that we all make mistakes from time to time. We all learn as we go,” Taufel, 47, told reporters at the Press Club.
“Although, I didn’t see the show, I have read little bit of press about some of the complaints. I have made plenty of mistakes in my career and I have learnt along the way.
“These players may have made some mistakes with some of the things that they have said. But they too will learn and all the other players and all the other people that have seen this event will also learn,” he added.
Considering the duo’s career ahead, Taufel cautioned that the issue should be handled carefully and hoped that they would learn from their mistakes and become better persons.
“So I think we really need to be careful about being overly critical. People do make mistakes but if we learn from those and we are genuine about wanting to do better, and commit to doing better then that’s a good thing,” he said.
“These players have got their careers to get through like you make a mistake in the first ball but you still got the day to get through.
“And I am sure they have got some good people around them and some good advice. I am sure they will come out of this okay and they will get through it. If they are genuine and they learn from that, I think they will become better as a result,” he added.
Taufel, who stood in 74 Tests, beginning at the young age of 29, also lavished praise on Virat Kohli, while singling out an innings in the 2012 CB series against Sri Lanka in Hobart where the Indian captain made an unbeaten 133.
“Every shot in the innings was in the middle of the bat. He was almost faultless,” said Taufel, who also stood in 174 ODIs and 34 T20Is.
Taufel added that Kohli has now found out how to bring the best out of him and he is now comfortable in being who he is.
“Virat’s now finding or has found what it takes to be a good leader. He grew up idolising Sachin Tendulkar and under the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
“They have had a huge impact on his career. But Virat Kohli is his own man. He has found out what it takes to be the best Virat Kohli he can be,” he added.
Taufel, who hails from Sydney, was adjudged the ICC ‘Umpire of the Year’ each year between 2004 and 2008.
At present, Taufel said he spends time delivering keynote lectures when in India as he is passionate about training and education in the country.
“It’s very important that we invest in training and we invest in education. Because it is about the person as much as it is about the player,” he said.