India-Pakistan cricket row over army caps and politics in sport

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The controversy across the Indian cricket crew-carrying military caps on the sector to pay homage to its troops has reignited a long-time-vintage debate over the mixing of politics with sports activities.

India’s national side got here underneath scrutiny for “militarising” the sport after its gamers wore military camouflage caps during an in shape in opposition to Australia in the jap Indian city of Ranchi.

In advance this month, the gesture became in solidarity with the Indian paramilitary police officers killed in a suicide attack with the aid of a Pakistan-based organization within the disputed Kashmir region and to boost donations for the National Defence Fund.

But analysts and sports activities diplomacy experts wondered about the Indian cricket team’s flow, pronouncing it did “no favors to both countrywide security nor recreation.”

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“It’s pleasant to raise cash for the troops as long as the fundraising takes place off the sector,” Mukul Kesavan, an Indian creator and historian, instructed Al Jazeera.

Pakistan, which came to the threshold of battle with India inside the aftermath of the February bombing within the Pulwama district of Indian-administered Kashmir this year, criticized the Indian crew for “politicizing” the game.

“We agree with that cricket and sports activities ought to now not be used for politics, and we’ve started this very truly,” the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, Ehsan Mani, stated at the same time as revealing that he had lodged a proper protest in a letter to the International Cricket Council (ICC).

“Their [India] credibility in the cricketing international has gone down very badly.”

An ICC spokesperson informed Al Jazeera that the Indian cricket board – the BCCI – asked for prior approval to wear the olive-and-black caps “as a part of a fundraising power and in reminiscence of soldiers, which become granted.”

“Given the reality that it happened in the aftermath of the India-Pakistan border skirmishing, it just appears pointed in a manner that has no enterprise on a cricket subject,” stated Kesavan.

J Simon Rofe, Global Diplomacy programme director at the University of London, stated finances could be raised “without having an overtly visible measurement.”

He stated the once-a-year ‘Pink Test’ helping breast cancer, and the World Cricket Tsunami Appeal fit held in Melbourne in 2005.

“There are ways of expressing guide for a good cause without it had the overt navy, not to mention political connotations,” Rofe, author of Sport and Diplomacy: Games inside Games, informed Al Jazeera.

Cricket and international relations nexus
Athletes, along with cricketers, have used sport to make political and private statements within the beyond.

According to ICC’s code of behavior, players and crew officers are not authorized to deliver political, spiritual, or racial messages thru garb or gadgets.

The ICC would have the final say in figuring out whether or not such a message is permitted, the world frame said.

In 2014, English cricketer Moeen Ali was banned from sporting “Free Gaza” and “Save Palestine” wristbands at some point of a chain towards India.

Pakistan-born South African bowler Imran Tahir changed into sanctioned for revealing a T-blouse proposing the portrait of Pakistani singer-became-preacher Junaid Jamshed, who died in an aircraft crash in 2016.

“You have two examples from the beyond already, in which both Tahir and Ali have been sanctioned for something comparable,” PCB’s Mani said, urging the ICC to take sturdy movement against the Indian cricket board.

But in keeping with Rofe, “the BCCI is a massive diplomatic participant, and that is certainly what’s at stake right here.”

“The schedule of the BCCI is vast to the ICC, and the reality that you’ve got the Indian Premier League coming up with a lot of the arena’s pleasant gamers, the nexus of cricket and international relations is in India,” he stated.

Sporting boycott

Boycotts and sanctions over political differences are commonplace in worldwide games, especially at the highest level.

The United States boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

For the duration of the Apartheid technology, South Africa became subjected to an expansion of wearing sanctions with the aid of major worldwide governing our bodies for its institutionalized racial segregation.

Athletes from Arab countries, which do not have diplomatic ties with Israel, frequently refuse to compete against Israeli combatants.

In an attempt to isolate Pakistan inside the cricketing global inside the wake of the Pulwama assault, India urged the ICC to sever ties with international locations from which “terrorism emanates,” a plea that changed into rejected via the ICC.

Pakistan and India are scheduled to play on the cricket World Cup in June in England. However, there are growing calls within India to drag out.

“There’s constantly going to be politics in global recreation … because humans do sense strongly about the proper to claim what they suppose is a political virtue, within the context of a sporting come upon,” brought Kesavan.

Rofe echoed the argument, saying the idea that “sport and politics don’t blend a delusion.”

“Sport affords each the spectators and the athletes with a platform, and a few will take benefit of that for excellent reasons, and some will take gain of it for covert or certainly, hostile reasons.”