Social media users are angry over the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) move to fine batter Azam Khan for displaying Palestine's flag on his bat during the ongoing National T20 tournament.
The middle-order batter was fined 50% of his match fees for breaching clothing and equipment regulations (displaying an unapproved logo/political messaging) in a match on Sunday in Karachi.
The flamboyant batter is playing for Karachi Whites and scored 35 against Lahore Blues before being summoned by the match referee Mohammad Javed.
Sources privy to the matter confirmed to Geo News that the young batter was fined 50% of his match fees. He was earlier warned by the referee not to display the unapproved logo (Palestine's flag) on his bat as it would be a breach of the ICC code of conduct, of which PCB is also a signatory.
Azam had, according to sources, informed the referee that all of his bats had the same stickers.
The ICC regulation for clothing and equipment states that players shall not be allowed to display messages that carry political, religious, or racial activities or causes.
Sources confirmed that Azam had the same sticker on his bat during two previous games of the National T20 Cup. However, no one had warned him before Sunday’s game.
In October, during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023, several Pakistani players showed their firm support for Palestinians suffering at the hands of Israel.
Indian fans and cricket experts had raised questions on the players' constant support for Palestine on their social media channels asking the cricket’s governing body whether such moves were allowed in the tournament.
At that time, the PCB had rejected the objections over players' conduct saying: "The team's expression of solidarity was a personal decision."
But the PCB’s decision to penalise the batter has left the netizens angry who have slammed the cricket authorities.
However, it is important to clarify here that during the 10-team tournament, the cricketers posted statements and pictures on their social media channels.
The ICC code is meant for on-field activities and off-the-ground actions are beyond their scope.
Here’s how the social media users have reacted:
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