Expressing displeasure over the Indian cricket team’s donning military caps during a match against Australia in India, Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry on Friday urged the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to lodge a formal protest against this uncalled for act.
The Indian cricket team decided to play the Ranchi ODI in army camouflage caps to honour those killed in the terror attack in Pulwama last month. They also donated their match fees for the ODI to the National Defence Fund.
According to the minister, such an act is feared to add fuel to the fire as tension between rival nuclear-armed neighbouring countries is already high. Apart from that, it does not suit a sportsman to politicise a game.
Fawad said in an angry note that “it is just not cricket”. He expressed hope from the International Cricket Council (ICC) to take action for politicising ‘the gentleman’s game’.
He shared a picture of Indian players in a tweet and warned that if Indian cricket team would not be stopped, then Pakistan cricket team should wear black bands to remind the world about Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir.
“It’s just not Cricket”, I hope ICC ll take action for politicising Gentleman’s game … if Indian Cricket team ll not be stopped, Pak Cricket team should wear black bands to remind The World about Indian atrocities in Kashmir… I urge #PCB to lodge formal protest pic.twitter.com/GoCHM9aQqm
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) March 8, 2019
At the toss, India captain Virat Kohli explained the decision. “It is a special cap,” he said. “This is to pay respect to the martyrs of the Pulwama attack and their families. All the players have decided to donate their match fees from this particular game to the National Defence Fund. I, as the captain of the team, would urge everyone in the country to do the same, donate how much ever they can to the National Defence Fund and help in the education and well-being of the families and the children of those who lost their lives in the attack. So this is a very special cap and a very special game indeed.”
According to ESPNcricinfo, the BCCI might have approached the ICC before going ahead with the plan, and that the ICC confirmed there was no breach of match regulations. “We discussed with the BCCI as they requested permission, it is as part of a charity fundraising effort,” an ICC spokesperson explained.
Commentator Harsha Bhogle tweeted that the gesture was initiated by MS Dhoni, who is an honorary lieutenant colonel in the Indian territorial army. Dhoni presented the cap to Kohli and the others before the toss. This could be Dhoni’s last international in his hometown, Ranchi.
BCCI tweeted: “#TeamIndia will be sporting camouflage caps today as mark of tribute to the loss of lives in Pulwama terror attack and the armed forces. And to encourage countrymen to donate to the National Defence Fund for taking care of the education of the dependents of the martyrs.”
Recently, the BCCI had also announced that a part of the budget for the usually extravagant opening ceremony for the IPL, estimated to cost around INR 20 crore, would be donated to families of Pulwama martyrs.