"I am not sure how much understanding they have about cricket."
Harbhajan Singh came under fire for appearing to make a sexist remark about Anushka Sharma and Athiya Shetty.
The former cricketer was commentating on the ICC World Cup final between India and Australia.
The event was a star-studded affair at the Narendra Modi Stadium, with Shah Rukh Khan and his family sitting in the stands.
But it proved to be an unhappy ending for hosts India as they lost by six wickets.
Anushka and Athiya were seated together, cheering for their respective cricketer husbands Virat Kohli and KL Rahul.
The Hindi commentators had been discussing Kohli and Rahul’s batting partnership during the match when the camera panned to their wives.
Harbhajan Singh, who was also in the commentary box, then questioned their understanding of cricket, causing controversy.
He was heard saying in Hindi:
“And I was thinking whether the conversation is happening about cricket or films.
“Because I am not sure how much understanding they have about cricket.”
Viewers watching the match on television heard Singh’s remark and took to social media to slam him.
One angry person commented:
“The commentator saying that Anushka and Athiya must be talking about films during the India vs Aus WC finals because “’Cricket ki Zyaada samajh toh hogi nahi’ is despicable.
“Misogyny is omnipresent, no matter the subject.”
Another wrote: “Harbhajan Singh suggesting Anushka and Athiya lack cricket knowledge, saying ‘I don’t know if they’re talking about cricket or films, I don’t think they know much about cricket’.
“Just doesn’t sit right, not cool.”
One comment read: “Hindi commentators openly mocking Anushka Sharma on her understanding of cricket.
“She’s the wife of Virat Kohli.
“Who has created a history recently and mocking someone while so many people watching is absolutely ridiculous.”
Another viewer wondered: “What’s with Harbhajan Singh’s misogynist comments on Anushka and Athiya? ‘I don’t know if they’re talking about cricket or films, I don’t think they know much about cricket’.
“Can the others in the commentary box ask him to stick to talking about those on the field?”
— Dee ?? (@deeptantalizing) November 19, 2023
An angry comment read: “Harbhajan Singh is a graceless sexist lout for attacking Anushka Sharma and Athiya Shetty.
“You have to be blind, blinkered and prejudiced not see see the beautiful relationship Virat and Anushka share.
“He’s lucky to have such a supportive partner.”
However, some believed Harbhajan Singh’s comment was not intended to come across as sexist, with one user writing:
“I don’t think Harbhajan Singh intended it to be like that.
“India was in a difficult spot and KL+Kohli were in a rebuilding phase.
“Singh might have been indicating that instead of discussing the technicalities, the wives might have been talking about Bollywood which is okay.”