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.
Now The Pakistan Cricket Board has taken “strong notice” of India’s use of army camouflage caps, urging the ICC to take action against the BCCI.
Speaking to reporters in Karachi today, Mani said the ICC has no misapprehensions about the fact that cricket should not be used for politics.
“We have strongly taken up the matter with the ICC,” PCB chairman Ehsan Mani told reporters in Karachi.
“There is absolutely no misunderstanding in the ICC about our position. We believe that cricket and sports should not be used for politics and we have said this very clearly. The Indian cricket team did an inappropriate thing due to which their standard has fallen.”
Recalling that the ICC had previously reprimanded South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir and banned England all-rounder Moeen Ali from wearing items with personal or political messages.
In July 2014, Moeen Ali was banned from wearing “Save Gaza” and “Free Palestine” wristbands in the Test series against India in England.
England were prepared to let Ali continue wearing the wristbands during the remainder of the third Investec Test against India, but the ICC has ruled that its international sports arena was not the place for the British Muslim’s show of solidarity.
He was not charged or punished, but simply told the wristbands must go when he is out on the field.
ICC issued the following statement on it: “The ICC equipment and clothing regulations do not permit the display of messages that relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes during an international match. Moeen Ali was told by the match referee that while he is free to express his views on such causes away from the cricket field, he is not permitted to wear the wristbands on the field of play and warned not to wear the bands again during an international match.”