A stylish batsman and an acrobatic wicketkeeper, Farokh Engineer was undeniably one of the best of his kind in the playing days. But, more than his batting, it was Engineer's sharp wicketkeeping skills - a necessity to aid the legendary spin quartet of Bishan Singh Bedi, ErapalliPrasanna, BS Chandrasekhar and Srinivas Venkataraghavan - that brought him laurels.
He called time on his international career after representing India in 46 Tests and five One-Day Internationals (ODIs). But, long after his retirement, Engineer, who eventually made England his home, continues to give his brutally honest opinion on Indian cricket and its set-up.
Not one to shy away from speaking his mind, Engineer recently lashed out at the Indian selectors for their failure to fix the impending No. 4 issue which played its part in Virat Kohli & Co's ouster from the ICC World Cup in England & Wales earlier this year. The 81-year-old had claimed that the Indian selectors were busy serving 'tea' to captain Kohli's wife Anushka Sharma in the stands, rather than doing their job.
“We have got a Mickey Mouse selection committee. Virat Kohli has a major impact (in the process) which is very good. But how are the selectors qualified? Between them, have they played about 10-12 Test matches. I didn't even know one of the selectors during the World Cup and I asked him 'who the hell he was' because he was wearing the India blazer and he said he was one of the selectors. All they were doing was getting Anushka Sharma (Kohli's wife) cups of tea. I feel people with the stature of Dilip Vengsarkar should be in the selection committee,” Engineer was quoted as saying by TOI.
In response, Anushka took to Instagram and wrote: "The latest version of these ill intended lies is that I was being served tea by selectors during the World Cup! I came to one game during the World Cup and sat in the family box and not the selectors box as reported but when has the truth mattered when it's about convenience! If you have a comment on the selection committee and their qualifications please do so as it's your opinion but do not drag me into it to substantiate your claim or sensationalise your opinion. I refuse to allow anyone from using my name in such conversations".View this post on Instagram
A post shared by AnushkaSharma1588 (@anushkasharma) on Oct 31, 2019 at 5:15am PDT
The Bollywood actress also issued a clarification on the controversy her picture with the Indian team at the High Commission of India in London. "I was asked to stand in a group photo by the High Commissioner's wife despite my hesitation to be in it, and a huge issue was created over this blaming me for intentionally wanting to be part of it and the said event, even though I was invited for it. An official clarification was issued by the board on the same and I still kept quiet," she wrote.
As soon as she penned the Instagram post, a lot of Indian fans slammed Engineer for his allegations. And, considering the gravity of the situation, Engineer clarified that his comment was made in jest and he never intended to demean Kohli's wife.
MIRROR NOW EXCLUSIVE | Former Cricketer Farokh Engineer clarifies his controversial comment on Actor Anushka Sharma, says, comments are blown out of proportion and I apologise to Anushka Sharma@VirenFerraopic.twitter.com/zULYPDvRZb— Mirror Now (@MirrorNow) November 1, 2019
"I just said it in a jest and it's being made a mountain out of a molehill. Poor Anushka has been dragged into it, she is a lovely girl. Virat Kohli is a brilliant captain and coach Ravi Shastri is extremely good. The entire matter is being blown up unnecessarily. It turned out to be a selector as he was wearing an all India blazer," Engineer told Mirror Now.
Though the former Indian glovesman has clarified his comments related to Anushka, Engineer's earlier comments still seem uncalled for, not only for Kohli's better-half, but also for the Indian selection committee, including chief selector MSK Prasad, who has been tasked with the responsibility of selecting a best-possible side for international games.