Former English spinner, Monty Panesar has emphasized on Virat Kohli taking paternal leave, midway through the Australian tour. Notably, Indian skipper Virat Kohli and his wife, Anushka Sharma announced their pregnancy in September. They also announced that the delivery will probably take place in January next year.
For the same, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) allotted paternal leave to Virat Kohli. Virat flew back home for the birth of his child after the first Test came to a close in Adelaide. A lot of former cricketers and cricket fans all across the globe have reacted negatively towards Virat flowing back, leaving team India in a deserted state.
Now, former English spinner, Monty Panesar has reacted to Virat’s paternal leave and has presented an insightful detail as to why this decision could rather prove to be a milestone for future generations.
Monty Panesar Reacts To Virat Kohli’s Paternal Leave
“In a huge cultural and societal shift, iconic batter Virat Kohli has just become the first Indian cricketer to be granted paternity leave later. India captain Kohli has return homed after the first Test against Australia in Adelaide,” Monty Panesar stated.
“While India’s dramatic defeat in that Test has caused some to call on him to stay on, others, including Australia’s star batter Steven Smith, believe it is vital that Kohli shows it is possible to strike a balance between playing and attending the birth of your first child,” Panesar further stated.
Monty further said, “This decision is a reflection of the changes that are happening within Indian society. For generations in India marriage hasn’t been an equal partnership, but their greatest modern-day sportsperson is showing that parenting responsibilities need to be shared.”
Virat Kohli’s Absence Will Be A Massive Blow For The Organizers And Broadcasters
“Paternity leave amongst international cricketers has become a common thing, as governing bodies are becoming adaptable and flexible with players. However, the magnitude of a player of Kohli’s calibre missing the final three Tests of a four-match series has caused huge concern for Australian media channels, particularly Channel Seven, who only have broadcast rights for the red-ball games,” Panesar noted.
“Understandably, they anticipate a substantial drop in viewership without Kohli. Will Swanton of The Australian even semi-seriously suggested that the Seven Network should sue,” he further stated.
“Channel Seven feel there will be a drop in viewership, in light of the Big Bash not attracting huge names, and Kohli only being available for the first Test. They only have the deal for Test matches while their competitors Fox Sports have all the white ball games. It nearly led to Channel Seven withdrawing from Cricket Australia,” Monty Panesar wrote.
“Kohli, the first test captain to win in Australia, will miss the iconic Boxing Day Test. For the Australian players, that’s no bad thing – after all, Kohli has won 33 of his 55 matches as captain and averages 62 as captain in Australia. However, his absence is massive for the authorities and the broadcasters,” Panesar further stated.
There Has Been A Cultural Shift: Monty Panesar
“Cricket Australia recently announced a ground-breaking policy for parental leave, where men’s and women’s players alike will be able to get 12 months’ paid leave for pregnant women and a guaranteed contract extension for the following year. While the primary beneficiaries have been female cricketers taking maternity leave, there has also been a cultural shift over the years in the men’s game, when previously it may have been frowned upon for a cricketer to take time out to attend the birth of their child,” Monty Panesar added.
Monty further stated, “It is becoming the norm for male cricketers to be given blessing to leave international squads to attend the birth of their children. As well as Kohli, Kane Williamson of New Zealand and Rory Burns of England have also taken advantage of the more relaxed policies just in the last month.”
“There was a heartwarming moment during the Ashes last year when Joe Denly travelled through the night to be with his wife while she gave birth, and then drove back to play the next day,” Monty added
The Tradition In India Has Been Very Different: Monty Panesar
Monty Panesar further stated, “However, the situation in India has traditionally been very different. Kohli could well be a trailblazer when the issue comes up again, even though the Indian media has remained unusually quiet on the issue. India won their last test series in Australia, with Kohli at the helm as he led the first sub-continent team to win in Australia. Without him, from 1-0 down, and without first-choice fast bowlers Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami, that may be a tall order.”
“However, regardless of the result for India down under, the macho idea of playing for your country over attending the birth of your child may well be softening because of a superstar’s decision to be with his wife; aptly demonstrating that marriage and parenting is an equal partnership,” Panesar further stated.
It will be interesting to see how the Indian cricket fraternity reacts to Virat’s absence. Much more of the reactions will flow in once India steps on the field. Their performance will surely invite a lot of comments on Virat Kohli’s early departure.