India’s cricketers on Friday sported camouflaged caps during the third One-Day International against Australia in Ranchi as a tribute to the country’s armed forces.
Speaking after the toss at the JSCA International Stadium in Ranchi, Indian captain Virat Kohli said that the players decided to wear the special cap “in honour of our soldiers who died in the Pulwama Attack.”
The caps were distributed to the players by Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The former captain was conferred the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel by the Indian Territorial Army in 2011.
Not just the cricketers, even the Indian commentators decided to wear the camouflaged caps during the match on Friday. Former captain Sunil Gavaskar distributed the caps to Sanjay Manjrekar, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, Murali Kartik and Harsha Bhogle.
However, this initiative by the Board of Control for Cricket in India drew mixed reactions of people. There were many who reckoned that sports shouldn’t be used for symbolism. It was even pointed out that displaying any kind of message on the field through clothing or equipment is against the International Cricket Council’s laws.
The move had prompted criticism from within Pakistan, with both Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi calling for the cricket’s world governing body to take action against and ban India for politicising the Gentleman’s Game.
The Pakistan Cricket Board also took “strong notice” of India’s use of army camouflage caps, urging the ICC to take action against the BCCI.
“We have strongly taken up the matter with the ICC,” PCB chairman Ehsan Mani told reporters in Karachi.
Now, The International Cricket Council said India was granted permission to wear camouflage military caps in the third ODI against Australia as a tribute to the country’s armed forces, a gesture which Pakistan has objected to.
“The BCCI sought permission from the ICC to wear the caps as part of a fundraising drive and in memory of fallen soldiers who have died, which was granted,” ICC’s General Manager Strategic Communications Claire Furlong said in a statement.
The Pakistan Cricket Board had sent a strongly-worded letter to the ICC, calling for action against India for wearing the caps.
“They took permission from ICC for some other purpose and used it to do something else, which is not acceptable,” PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani said on Sunday in Karachi.