KARACHI: In a bizarre turn of events, two ruling party lawmakers have taken exception to the Pakistan cricket team’s choice of post-match celebration, saying the players should offer voluntary prayers instead of doing pushups upon winning.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Rana Muhammad Afzal raised the issue during a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) in Islamabad on Wednesday, asking what message Pakistani cricketers were trying to give by doing pushups after matches. His fellow PML-N MNA Chaudhry Nazeer Ahmad, meanwhile, advised the players to offer prayers after winning their matches in place of pushups.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Executive Najam Sethi and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Subhan Ahmed were among officials representing the cricket body at the meeting.
While Afzal could not be contacted, Iqbal Mohammad Ali, another IPC panel member who attended the meeting, confirmed that the point was raised.
“It was an objection from an individual and did not reflect the views of the entire committee,” Iqbal told The Express Tribune. “Afzal insisted that it was not the first time the Pakistani team had attended a training camp conducted by the army before a foreign tour,” he said.
Following the meeting, rumours circulated that PCB chief Sethi had assured the IPC committee that Pakistani players will be barred from doing celebratory pushups.
But Sethi clarified the celebration was done ‘at the discretion of players’. ‘There is no ban on pushups. In fact, I think players should do a hundred pushups when they score a century,” he tweeted.
Iqbal too spoke in Sethi’s defence. “Sethi apprised committee members that the trend begun after captain Misbahul Haq celebrated his century against England at Lord’s [in July] to show his fitness at the age of 42,” he said.
After Misbah, the entire Pakistan team celebrated their victory in the same fashion after winning the same Test. Since then, Pakistani players have celebrated wins in subsequent matches by doing pushups. Misbah later revealed that he had promised the team’s army trainers that he would do 10 pushups if he scored a century.
Sethi questioned over PSL privatisation
Meanwhile, Iqbal said he raised the issue of making Pakistan Super League (PSL) a private company during the meeting.
“We questioned Sethi about the plans to make PSL a private company. It is not understandable as none of the other international leagues are independent from their respective boards. The matter will be taken up in the next meetings,” said Iqbal.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2016.