Bollywood actor Anushka Sharma on Thursday slammed the constant targetting she has to endure over things involving Indian cricket team and her husband Virat Kohli.

Saying she takes the blame ‘for the most baseless things involving Indian cricket’, Sharma issued a strongly-worded statement on the day former wicketkeeper Farokh Engineer dragged her name into a discussion of MSK Prasad-led selection committee.

Engineer was quoted as saying by the Times of India that he saw the selectors serve tea to Sharma during the World Cup, an allegation that the actor slammed, among other things in her statement.

“How are the selectors qualified? Between them, have they played about 10-12 Test matches,” Engineer told the newspaper. “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.”

Here’s the full text (edited mildly) of the message posted by Sharma on her Twitter handle:

I have always been of the opinion that maintaining silence on false and fabricated news and stories against one is the best way to deal with your detractors. This is how I have handled my career for 11 years now. I always saw dignity and truth embedded in the shadow of my silence. 

They say, say a lie so many times repeatedly that it starts to look like the truth and I am afraid this is what has been happening with me. My silence has made the lies spitted against me seem true but that ends today. 

I have stayed quiet through all the times I was blamed for the performance of my then boyfriend, now husband Virat and continue to take the blame for the most baseless things involving Indian cricket. I kept quiet then. My name has been used in fabricated stories claiming that I am part of close-door team meetings and influenced selection processes and I have kept silent. My name has been wrongfully used to say how I have been given preferential treatment or how I have overstayed my authorised time with my husband on foreign tours which if anyone really cared about finding facts from the board, would know that I have always and always followed protocol but yet, I kept quiet. 

My name was used for false stories to make it look like the board was being bothered for my tickets or security, etc when in reality I bought my own tickets for matches and flights, and I still kept quiet. 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. 

And the latest version of these ill-intended lies is that I was being served tea by selectors at matches 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 want to have a comment on the selection committee and their qualifications please do so as it’s your opinion but don’t drag my name into it to substantiate your claim or sensationalise your opinion. I refuse to allow anyone from using my name in such conversations. 

It’s not like this last piece of ‘news’ has upset me more and that’s why I have decided to break my silence. They have all been as regressive and horrible and malicious and vicious. So, don’t take this letter as my retort to this ‘news’ . Today, I have decided to speak up because someone’s silence cannot be taken as their weakness. I am not and will not be a pawn to be used by anyone’s thoughts or beliefs or agendas and next time you want to use my name to discredit someone or the board or even my husband, do it with facts and proof and leave me OUT of it. I have led my life, built my own career with utmost dignity and I am not going to compromise that for anything. Maybe, it’s hard for some to believe that. because, I am a self-made, independent woman who only happens to be the wife of a cricketer. 

... and for the record, I drink coffee.  

While Kohli has himself lambasted media using Sharma’s presence as a tool of criticism in the past, this time, Sharma took the matter into her own hands.

MSK Prasad slams Engineer

Chairman of selection committee Prasad also slammed Engineer regarding his comments.

“I feel sad for someone deriving sadistic pleasure out of indulging in petty talk, thereby demeaning and disrespecting the selectors and wife of Indian captain through false and frivolous allegations,” Prasad told PTI on Thursday.

Prasad also said it doesn’t behoove a player of Engineer’s stature to pass such nasty comments about anyone’s wife, be it Indian captain or any ordinary man.

“Let’s not forget that this selection committee has been appointed by BCCI through a proper process in an AGM,” Prasad added. “Someone at the age of 82 should reflect maturity and enjoy the progress of Indian cricket from his time to the current day.”

(With PTI inputs)