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Saturday, 17 January 2015

Anushka Sharma can’t stay with Virat Kohli during World Cup............


NEW DELHI: Afraid of succumbing to fine leg, is Indian cricket falling for silly point? The Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) may have not made a formal announcement yet, but wives and girlfriends (WAGS) will not be allowed to stay with Team India players during the World Cup, starting ironically on Valentine's Day.

This ruling effectively means that Anushka Sharma - now seen as much of a calming influence on the tempestuous Virat Kohli - will not share the room with the Indian vice-captain during the intense 44-day tournament where India will end up playing nine matches should they reach the final on March 29.

Despite all the talk in the past of treating the Indian cricketers as adults and allowing WAGS to accompany them, especially on long tours, top board officials categorically told TOI that the BCCI will stick to the previous World Cup dos and don'ts. "This rule of not allowing wives and girlfriends was always there in the past. In a big tournament like the World Cup, the cricketers should stay away from distractions," a top BCCI official said.

However, he added that a small window will be provided to the wives during a long tour, involving Tests and ODIs. The girlfriends will again have to stay separately.

In crunch tournaments such as the World Cup, opinion is divided over whether the presence of WAGS helps players unwind or whether they are a hindrance to preparation. Football is famous with stories about teams' 'concentration camps' and Team India will be no different, sticking to a strict curfew with a window for conjugal visits.

Last summer, during the series in England, Kohli copped a lot of flak for his failure with the bat for being "distracted" with the actor co-habiting with him. But Kohli being Kohli, continued to wear his attitude on his sleeve and came out with guns blazing soon after and the distraction theory took a backseat. Blowing a kiss to his celebrity girlfriend became de rigueur after each Kohli century.

In the just-ended Australia series this time, with the added burden of captaincy on him, Kolhi toed the official line and Anushka opted to stay in a nearby hotel, or in some instances, even in the same hotel as the team but in a separate room. Keeping in mind the grueling tour, the BCCI had allowed cricketers' wives to stay with the players, but girlfriends were not allowed.

The BCCI has no problem if WAGS and family members are in Australia to watch the World Cup, only as long as they are not staying with the team. "You can't stop them from visiting Australia if they want to be a part of the euphoria, can you?" another top BCCI office-bearer shrugged, before adding, "The board won't have any problem as long as the players are kept away from family matters during the tournament."

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