In 2019, KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya appeared on talk show Koffee with Karan, hosted by filmmaker Karan Johar. It was the first time that cricketers were invited to the predominantly Bollywood chat show and Rahul and Pandya set the internet on fire with their stunning comments on the show.
The sexist and racist comments made by both cricketers, especially Pandya, resulted in severe backlash from fans and eventually, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The Koffee with Karan episode was even taken off air.
Now the all-rounders faced each other as skippers of the two newest teams in IPL 2022 for the first time on Monday. KL Rahul is leading Lucknow Super Giants while Hardik Pandya is the captain of Gujarat Titans.
Pandya's team won Monday's match, the first between the two new teams, by five wickets.
Here's a look at how Rahul and Pandya have evolved since that infamous Koffee with Karan episode.
Soon after the TV show was aired on January 6, Gillette terminated its contract with Pandya, India Today reported. He was also replaced in the team for the ongoing ODI series in Australia and India's limited-overs tour of New Zealand later.
The duo was also slammed by legendary batsman Sunil Gavaskar and World Cup-winning spinner Harbhajan Singh for their controversial remarks.
Pandya apologised on Twitter. "After reflecting on my comments on Koffee with Karan, I would like to apologise to everyone concerned who I may have hurt in any way."
"Honestly, I got a bit carried away with the nature of the show. In no way did I mean to disrespect or hurt anyone's sentiments. Respect," he tweeted.
But the apology came a little too late with the BCCI taking note of the incident. The Committee of Administrators issued a show cause notice to the both the cricketers and sought an explanation within 24 hours for their remarks on women.
In his response, Hardik Pandya said he did not realise that his comments would be found offensive.
All this while, however, Rahul had his back. Silently.
Later that year, Rahul opened up to The Times of India about his equation with Pandya. He said that even though initially both of them kept away from the chaos but he remained friends with Pandya and that they enjoy each other’s company.
Now, as captains of Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans, Rahul and Pandya will face each other again on May 10.
Hardik Pandya's brother Krunal was also on the other side; he plays for Lucknow. In fact, Krunal took his younger brother's wicket today, dismissing the Titans captain at 33 runs.